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THE local government units have proven to be more effective and delivering basic services to their constituents as seen from how they handled the situation since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, President Rodrigo Duterte deemed it proper to devolve more government services to the LGUs, through an executive order directing the national government agencies to start devolving their functions.

Under Duterte’s Executive Order No. 138, “The functions, services, and facilities which shall be fully devolved from the NG (national government) to the LGUs (local government units) no later than the end of FY (fiscal year) 2024, shall include those indicated under Section 17 of RA No. 7160 and other existing laws which subsequently devolved functions of the NG to LGUs.”

Duterte’s timeline sees full turn-over of several basic services that each level of local government is supposed to be in charge of, from barangay to city by 2024. As such, barangays will be in charge of providing agricultural support services and health services while cities and municipalities would take the cudgel of maintaining communication and transportation facilities.

The EO also stated that while the Local government code stipulates devolution of services, most LGUs remain dependent on the national government agencies.

It further stated that local governments will have more funds starting 2022 because of the Mandanas ruling. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that local governments are entitled to a share of all national taxes, not just the national internal revenue taxes.

According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the Mandanas ruling is the very reason why LGUs are enjoying a relatively higher Internal Revenue Allotment, adding that local governments have been receiving 50 percent more than what they used to get.

Interestingly, Roque admitted that even with the devolution, not-so-rich local governments may not be able to take on the devolved functions unless provided with additional funds by the national government.

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