BALANGA CITY, Bataan – Bataan second district congressman Jose Enrique “Joet” Garcia III recently filed a motion to substitute at the Supreme Court replacing the late Congressman Enrique “Tet” Garcia, Jr. as petitioner for the mandamus for the national government to give about 332 billion pesos Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA) shortfall for the local government units nationwide.
Cong. Joet Garcia says the figure is just for the years 2009 to 2011 based on his father’s (Cong. Tet) computation.
Last August 28, 2013, the late legislator filed a petition for mandamus before the Supreme Court against the national government and reverse the shortfall on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shares of local government units.
“I am asking the Supreme Court to compel the national government to give the LGUs their just share in the national taxes as mandated by the Constitution. The Local Government Code requires the national government to give the LGUs a fixed percentage of the national internal revenue taxes as their IRA–30 percent in 1997 and onwards,” the late Cong. Tet Garcia told this reporter.
Garcia reiterated that he is doing this not only for the province of Bataan, where he served as governor for the last nine years, “but for the benefit of the local government units all over the country – the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays.”
Garcia added, “This is a duty imposed by the Constitution and the law. But I would say that the national government is fulfilling this duty half-heartedly, instead of fully and faithfully performing it. The national government computes the IRA not on the basis of the gross national internal revenue collections in the computation of the IRA. Moreover, the collections of the Bureau of Customs, of VAT and excise taxes, which are clearly internal revenue taxes, are not being included in the computation.”
The solon explained that it resulted to a huge IRA shortfall which started in 1995 and will continue to accumulate until the error in the computation of the IRA is rectified.
“I submit that it is grossly unfair to expect much from the LGUs when their capability to undertake good governance is being severely undermined. We need to sufficiently empower the LGUs not only for the sake of the country and our people but for the national government itself,” Garcia said.
The Bataan solon cited a paper written for the Local Government Center, University of the Philippines College of Public Administration and Ford Foundation Philippines, where LGUs are being regarded by many citizens as the government.
“If local governments fail and are unresponsive to the basic needs of the people, then government to these people is a failure, regardless of the grandiose plans and visions (the national government) has.”
The young Garcia also said that his father filed the petition for mandamus with the Supreme Court banking on its earlier pronouncements on local autonomy, which he quote: “Our national officials should not only comply with the Constitutional provisions on local autonomy but should also appreciate the spirit and liberty upon which these provisions are based. Where the law, the Constitution in this case, is clear and unambiguous, it must be taken to mean exactly what it says, and courts have no choice but to see to it that the mandate is obeyed.”