(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 25 November 2022) Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Mindanao and Palawan. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas / (0.6 to 2.1 meters).


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

House Bill to Include Municipal Waters in the Computation of LGUs Share in the National Taxes Filed in Congress

BUTUAN CITY -- Agusan del Norte Representative Dale Corvera filed House Bill No. 6102 to amend Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC) to include the area of municipal waters as an additional factor in determining the share of each local government unit in the National Taxes Allocation (NTA) popularly known before as IRA or the Internal Revenue Allotment.

Under Section 285 of the LGC, the determination of the share of LGUs on the NTA is based on Population, Land Area and Equal Sharing. “The Local Government Code of 1991 has been here for the past 30 years and it appears now that these factors failed to consider one critical information - that the Philippines is an archipelagic country, and more than 50% of its LGUs are considered coastal, and therefore the Area of Municipal Waters should be included in determining the share of LGUs in the NTA not only the Land Area,” Corvera stressed.

He said that the current formula in the computation of NTA shares is unfair to LGUs with vast municipal waters to look after.  Coastal LGUs are compelled to provide services, programs and facilities for the protection, promotion and maintenance of the municipal waters pursuant to existing laws despite the fact that in the current distribution of the national taxes, the area of municipal waters is not considered as a factor. 

“In fact, one of such laws is Republic Act No. 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended. It made the LGUs responsible for the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization, and disposition of all fish and fishery/aquatic resources within their respective municipal waters, yet no corresponding adjustments were made in the factors to determine NTA share to cover the expenses brought about by the increase in responsibilities associated with the implementation of RA No. 8550. This is over and above the fact that coastal LGUs are the most exposed to huge damages and displacements during typhoons, storm surges and tsunamis and they are obliged to spend on projects and programs to prevent loss of life and property due to these events.”, Corvera continued.

“The importance of including municipal waters as factor in the distribution of NTA shares of the LGUs is critical now because the Philippines has been ranked first globally in the World Risk Index 2022. This means that the Philippines is more exposed and vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges, tsunamis and other natural phenomena affecting coastal communities.”, Corvera added.

It can be recalled that the Mandanas Ruling of the Supreme Court only solved the issue on the just share of the LGUs as a whole in the national taxes and clarified that the share of the LGUs should not only be limited to national revenue taxes alone but it should include all national taxes, except those that have been collected for a specific purpose. 

According to Corvera, based on his experience as a mayor and governor of a coastal LGU, he believes that there is still a deeper issue in Section 285 of the Local Government Code that must be addressed by considering the municipal waters as a factor in determining the LGUs’ share from the NTA in addition to the Land Area factor for the LGUs to have a truly just share in the national taxes. (Agusan del Norte 2ndCongressional District Office/PIA Agusan del Norte)