Capacitating local governments – The Cordillera Regional Development Council Development Administration met on February 10 to plan its 2021 priority activities, primary of which is the series of lectures on capacitation for project implementation in anticipation of the increased LGU budgets due to the Mandanas ruling. 

BAGUIO CITY – In 2021, the Cordillera Regional Development Council Development Administration Committee will conduct a series of webinars to capacitate local government units at the provincial, municipal, and barangay levels in preparation for their increased budgets in 2022. The Committee presented this as its banner program for 2021 during its 1st quarter meeting on February 10.

The webinars aim to capacitate LGUs to properly manage their share from increased revenue allotments resulting from the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on a petition led by then-Congressmen Hermilando Mandanas and its subsequent legislation filed by Congressman Rufus Rodriguez. The capacity-building program will be done through a webinar series with limited face-to-face participants. The webinar lectures will aim to strengthen the capacities of LGUs in project planning, investment programming, monitoring and evaluation, and information dissemination. It is anticipated that more development programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) will be implemented by LGUs with their increased budgets because of the Mandanas ruling.

Adonis Bringas of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (PAPRU), suggested that LGUs must also take into account the priority PPAs under the National Task Force to Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) program. With ending the local communist armed conflict as a priority of the current administration, Bringas noted that LGUs, especially those cleared of CAC activities, must ensure that PPAs geared towards the socio-economic development of these areas and communities are implemented. PDEA-CAR Director Gil Castro also added that drug prevention and rehabilitation is the banner program of the administration so related PPAs must be also be prioritized.

The DevAd Committee will form a technical working group to plan the webinar series based on an assessment of the training needs of the LGUs. Director Helen Tibaldo of the Philippine Information Agency emphasized that information dissemination among citizens is also key to ensuring people’s participation and accountability of officials and should also be a focus of the Committee’s activities.

The Mandanas ruling refers to the July 2018 Supreme Court decision (G.R. No. 199802) calling for Congress to provide LGUs with a share from national taxes, not just internal revenue taxes. This will result in an unprecedented increase in their annual budgets which necessitates better planning, project planning, investment programming, monitoring and evaluation, and information dissemination by LGUs.

by Marlo Lubguban, NEDA-SPCAR