Tolentino urges DBM to empower LGUs in averting recession using the Mandanas ruling

Senator Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino today June 21 asked the incoming leadership of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to empower local government units (LGUs) using the ‘Mandanas ruling’ of the Supreme Court in averting the effects of a looming global recession amid the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the inflation brought by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Tolentino said the DBM should offer LGU-funded allocations that are truly ‘up to date’ and could respond to the present needs and demands of the country considering that the purchasing power of ordinary Filipinos have severely weakened over the past two years.

“Etong DBM—the outgoing officials—nagbigay sila ng mga guidelines, alituntunin kung paano gagastusin ang (additional allocations sa) Mandanas ruling... napakalaking halaga niyan (The outgoing DBM officials had given guidelines and rules on how to spend the additional allocations in the Mandanas ruling). Kung may napipinto o ongoing na yung recession, at dapat bigyan ang ating mga LGUs na gamitin nila hindi (lang) dun sa imposed ng DBM... dapat tumugon sa (tunay na) pangangailangan (If there is a creeping or ongoing recession, LGUs must be given not only from what the DBM had imposed but what they really need),” Tolentino said in a radio interview.

Tolentino, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, stressed that as localities are expected to receive bigger share of budget allotment under the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP)—amid the full implementation of the Mandanas ruling—they should be given freehand and more room on how to utilize those program allocations realistically.

The 2018 Mandanas Ruling basically increased the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) computation of every existing LGUs, and now includes all collection of national taxes except those accruing to special purpose funds and special allotments for the utilization and development of the national wealth.

Tolentino explained that the additional allocations provided under the Mandanas ruling could be used by each locality to lessen the impact of inflation by ensuring the country’s food security through construction of additional warehouses, milling stations, and cold storage facilities for local farmers and fisherfolks.