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Guingona plans to increase brgy. IRA

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

To empower the barangay captains, Senator Teofisto Guingona III plans to increase the barangay’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

Guingona also added that he will move to fix the term of barangay captains from three to six years.

The senator’s plan was greeted with applause by the barangay captains during the league’s provincial convention on July 16 at the Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City.

Guingona along with Senate Majority Leader Allan Peter Cayetano were among the guest speakers during the opening day of the convention.

Napo, Carcar City Barangay Captain Ronnel Nacua said the move would benefit their constituents since their IRA is only Php 3.3 million annually.

The IRA is a local government unit’s (LGU) share of revenues from the Philippine National Government. According to the Local Government Code, IRA is a blog grant, an all-purpose general allotment to which LGUs are entitled; no condition or requirement is attached for its release.

The big chunk of the fund goes to the salaries of their employees. The barangay also provides honoraria to their volunteer workers, such the barangay health workers, nutrition scholars, tanods, animal health aides, and day care workers, among others.

“If that plan will push through, it will be a big help for the barangay. It means the barangay will be able to implement projects without waiting for assistance from higher offices,” Nacua said.

The neophyte barangay captain also stated that the longer term is also beneficial for their constituents. He said, “Three years is too short to accomplish big things.”

The income allotment of the barangays varies from one barangay to another.

Barangay Zaragosa of Aloguinsan, a fourth class municipality, only gets Php 900,000 annual IRA share.

The IRA of the local government units came from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Guingona said he will propose in the Senate that the taxes collected by the Bureau of Customs go directly to the IRA of the barangays.

In the province, the barangay captains usually request financial assistance through the legislative assistance funds (LAF) of vice governor or board members.

However, LAF is limited compared to the financial aid that the barangay captains may get from the office of the governor.

In his first year in office, Governor Hilario P. Davide III already doled out Php 231 million financial assistance to the barangays and towns.

The funds were intended to implement their various priority projects, such as the installation or repair of water systems; the repair or rehabilitation of barangay halls, barangay health centers, day care centers; and concreting of roads.

The funds were disbursed directly to the barangays and towns to enhance the capability of the barangay and municipal officials.

Cayetano also stated that the LGUs in Cebu and those outside Manila should receive more allotment from the national government.

He informed that in 2001 to 2010, seven of 10 mega projects went to Metro Manila.

In 2013, he added, that out of Php 184 billion worth of projects, Php 142 billion went to Metro Manila. In the same year, Metro Manila also got Php 129 billion from the national budget, while Cebu and the Central Visayas region also received Php 63 billion.

The senator said Cebu and the entire region of Central Visayas should receive more because its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is higher than in Manila particularly during the years 2010 to 2011 and 2011 to 2012.