A new executive order (EO) will be released by the end of 2023 to ensure the "good" implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia case, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday. Marcos made the pronouncement during the fourth general assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga. In his speech, Marcos ensured that his administration will include the local government "in all of our plans," adding that there will be a series of consultations with local executives. "Kailangan maging mahusay ang (There should be a good) coordination between the local and national government. Asahan ninyo na (Expect that) you are not working in a vacuum. You are not working in a vacuum. We are watching, we are asking, we are consulting with you," he told the governors. "And in that way, we will come out with a good EO at the end of the year for a good implementation of the very important Supreme Court decision now we call the Mandanas ruling to even further strengthen the coordination and the partnership between the local government and the national government," Marcos added. Marcos acknowledged anew that the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to the local government units (LGUs), as directed by existing EO 138, could not be done. EO 138 was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2021 to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia case and strengthen the autonomy and empowerment of LGUs. Under EO 138, the functions, services and facilities should be fully devolved to the local government no later than the end of 2024. Identifying 'hybrid' areas Marcos said his administration is currently identifying the functions that belong to the LGUs, as well as the services that should be carried out by the national government. He noted that there are also "hybrid" areas such as health and education that the national and local governments must work together. "I think that's the right way to do it na ang titignan natin, talaga naman very easily identifiable ang mga services na dapat talaga eh manggaling sa probinsya (that we look at the very easily identifiable services that should be done in the provinces)," Marcos said. "Meron din diyan na hybrid. Hindi lang probinsya (There are also hybrid services that could not be done by the provincial governments alone). It is supposed to be a joint effort between the province and the national government. So, that is what we are trying to calibrate," he added. 'Extra' funding Marcos said the national government is also working toward providing "extra" funding to LGUs. This emphasized the importance of giving the local governments a "breathing room" in carrying out their mandate, he added. "It does not mean na walang made-devolve. Merong mga made-devolve na functions pero ang kaibahan dito, yung pag-devolve na functions, may kasabay na item, may kasabay na funding, may kasabay na training (It does mean that there will be no devolution. Functions will be devolved but the difference here is there will be items, funding and training)," Marcos said. "The original concept was mabigyan ng extra funding ang mga local government, lalo na 'yung mga highly dependent sa IRA (to give extra funding to local governments, especially those that are highly dependent to IRA [or Internal Revenue Allotment])," he added. Under the Mandanas ruling, the national government is mandated to expand the share of LGUs in tax collection. On the other hand, LGUs are required to handle the responsibility of operating social services like agriculture, connectivity and health within their jurisdictions. The ruling is a result of two separate petitions filed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan governor Enrique Garcia Jr., requesting that the basis of computation of the LGUs' IRA be adjusted to include national taxes. Heading in 'right direction' Marcos expressed confidence that his administration is on the "right" track, as it seeks closer cooperation and collaboration with the LGUs. He also believed that the government is making progress in the fight against corruption since his administration already laid out its "very clear" initiatives. "There is no slippage. There is no wastage. Even the level of corruption will go down because very, very clear ang gusto nating gawin (what we want to do is very, very clear)," he said. "I think we are headed in the right direction. We will get there. With your help, we will get there. This will be to the benefit of all our constituents. So, let's keep that partnership strong and let's work hard. And I'm sure that we will succeed to the benefit of those who are in need of our help and of our services as public servants,' he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency