The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) agreed that there is a need to upgrade the income classification of provinces and cities and municipalities.

During the joint RDC-RPOC meeting conducted on September 11 in Bokod, Benguet, the members of both regional bodies passed a joint RDC and RPOC resolution urging the House of Representatives to upgrade and institutionalize the process of income classification of provinces, cities and municipalities.

The proposed upgrade is expected to pave the way for increased Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the LGUs, increased salaries of the personnel; and sustained Magna Carta of Personnel for 4th and 5th class municipalities and provinces.  It will also lead to the provision of mandatory services such as the creation of a plantilla DRRM Office and filling-up of other necessary positions. Higher income classification would also mean more access to programs and projects and loans that are granted based on the LGU’s capacity to pay.

The need to revise CAR LGUs’ income classification stems from the fact that the income ranges as defined in EO 249, Providing for a new income classification of provinces, cities and municipalities, and for other purposes, signed by then President Corazon Aquino in 1987, are no longer relevant to the prevailing economic conditions and the overall financial status of the local governments.

Section 9 of the said EO provides that the Secretary of Finance has the authority to review the income ranges at least once every four years, provided that the Department of Finance shall recommend appropriate changes or revisions to the proper authority. The proper authority to modify, revise or amend the applicable provisions of law is the Philippine legislature, namely the two Houses of Congress.

Presently, Mountain Province is classified as a 4th class province; Abra, Apayao, Ifugao and Kalinga are 3rd class; and Benguet 2nd class.  Baguio City, the region’s lone chartered city, is first class.  The table below shows the income classification of the region’s municipalities and Tabuk City, a component city of Kalinga.  The income classification of LGUs has not been adjusted since 2008.  xxx