By Nestor Abrematea
TACLOBAN CITY — The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) fears for what it called the “massacre” of small Local Government Units (LGUs) once the shift to federalism pushes through.
San Roque, Northern Samar, Mayor Don L. Abalon, national spokesperson of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines and president of LMP, Northern Samar chapter, speaking during the Regional Development Council (RDC) 8 Forum at Summit Hotel here Wednesday, said they fear for the “massacre” of 4th and 5th class municipalities as they are more dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
Abalon said the LMP fully supports the shift to a federal government, but it is wary of the proposed federal constitution because it could impact fourth and fifth class municipalities which almost totally percent dependent on the IRA.
Abalon said the IRA share now is 40 percent of the national internal revenue and while it is laudable that in the proposed constitution the sharing is increased to 50 percent, however, it will be given to federated regions, not necessarily to the provinces, cities, municipalities and the barangays.
“The LMP, consisting of 1,289 municipalities all over the country, supports the shift to federalism. Make no mistake about it-we fully support federalism. We are however wary of the proposed federal constitution as it may seriously affect the lower municipalities,” he said.
Constitutional Committee (Concom) Member retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, however, assured the LMP that small municipalities will not be removed and that the law on the LGUs and barangays will continue to exist under the federal government.
Nachura said the speedy justice system is assured under the new constitution as four layers of courts will be created to declog dockets.
He said the average justice today handles more than 1,500 cases pending and there are around 20 cases being added per week as the Filipino people are litigious. Nachura said the 50-50 sharing of national revenue will become the concern of the regional assembly which will enact laws for the region and underscored the election of competent people to the regional assembly.