Expert affirms strong potential

Dir. Lim (top-left) discussing the fiscal viability of an autonomous region and participants (counterclockwise) giving their insights during the open forum.

BAGUIO CITY – “Cordillera has a strong potential to sustain its financial capacity if it becomes an autonomous region as compared with other regions”, states Dir. Maria Lourdes Lim, Chair of the TWG on Wealth Sharing and Revenue Generation of the Bangsamoro and NEDA XI Regional Director. This was revealed during the forum on Fiscal Viability of an Autonomous Region convened by the RDC-CAR last January 5, 2017, in this town.

She said that the strong potential of the Cordillera for fiscal sustainability comes from its high per capita transfers or national government allocation per person and its high per capita locally-generated revenues. Only CAR shares this status with the National Capital Region (NCR) which is a resource-concentrated region.

Lim explained that despite CAR’s constant receipt of the lowest national government allocation as compared to other regions, it has the highest capacity to generate local revenues which is a major determinant of its potential for fiscal sustainability.

She said that CAR LGUs should lower their high Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) dependency ratio which ranges from 72 to 93 percent, and broaden their tax base and likewise increase their efficiency in revenue collection.

NEDA-CAR Regional Dir. Milagros Rimando said that the forum serves as a venue to learn and study whether the Cordillera as an autonomous region or as a federal state can be financially sustainable. She added that the RDC-CAR is planning to partner with the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF) and Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) for follow-up forums within the year.

Local government assessors, line agency representatives, the academe and autonomy partners and advocates both from the government and civil society organizations participated in the forum.

She also shared that NEDA-CAR is coordinating with NEDA Central Office for the funding of a study on the fiscal viability of the Cordillera as an autonomous region.

 (SPCAR, Jan. 30, 2017)