August 10, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Local government employees opposed the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers of lowering the local government units Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share in favor of the national government in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling that the IRA must be sourced from “all national taxes and not only internal revenue taxes”.
The IRA amounted to P575.52 billion under the proposed 2019 national budget, a far cry from the P732 billion IRA if the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the “just share” of LGUs would be implemented next fiscal year.
The League of Local Government Units Employees (LEAGUE-COURAGE), a federation of LGU employees associations and unions, said that social services to the people and the security of tenure of rank-and-file employees will be the first casualties if the national government decides to reduce the allotment.
“The jobs of LGUs project-based employees who have been performing the regular mandate of the government would be affected by the cut on the IRA as their salaries are sourced from the revenue allotment. Mass lay-off of government employees nationwide is imminent if the US-Duterte regime decides on the cut on the IRA”, said LEAGUE president Erwin Lanuza.
“The current LGU and national government share of 40%-60% to a possible reduction of 30%-70% can only be altered if there is an “unmanageable public service deficit according to the Local Government Code. If this will happen, it will be greatly disadvantageous to LGUs, local communities and employees especially in the delivery of much needed local social services such as education, health, housing, agriculture, water and others, COURAGE National President Ferdinand Gaite said.
He surmised that the unmanageable public service debt is actually due to Duterte’s adherence to the neo-liberal economic program pushed by US, China and other foreign monopoly capital increasing the debt and debt service, increasing the AFP and PNP budget, the drive for more infrastructure spending under the Build, Build, Build which only favor the few. Another impact is that once allotments are reduced and funding for local hospitals, schools, housing, water and other social services, the privatization of such services (another neo-liberal program) will not be far behind leading to more expensive services and lay-off of employees.
Lanuza said that government workers, are actually clamoring for the regularization of contractuals and have lost faith in Duterte’s promise. Instead, they are pushing for the passage of House Bill 7415 file by Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate and the Makabayan Bloc which will end contractualization and entitle non-regular workers in government security of tenure and civil service eligibility. They are also pushing for a national minimum wage of P16,000 a month for all government employees whether national or local.