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Some of the newly proclaimed senators yesterday vowed to buckle down to their legislative work once the 17th Congress opens under the leadership of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.
Now that he has a fresh mandate from the people, Senator-elect Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he would push for the passage of a bill that supports the incoming administration’s efforts to empower local governments and curb criminality.
Lacson is referring to his proposed Budget Reform Act, which is based on his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE). He said the bill seeks to ensure enough funds for local government units to implement their development projects.
“This shares the objective of federalism – to empower local government units with sufficient funds to implement their own development projects – without having to go through the process of amending the 1987 Constitution,” said Lacson.
The Duterte administration has promised to push for federalism in the next two years.
According to Lacson, his budget reform bill would also help bring down criminality by attracting people to work on development projects instead of resorting to petty crime. Because in many cases, he said, petty crimes stem from poverty.
“When there are many opportunities presented by development projects, we can expect less reason for people to resort to crime to make ends meet,” he said.
Lacson said his proposal downloading funds from the national budget to the barangay, city, municipal and provincial levels would help local government units (LGUs) form their own development projects.
Under the bill, he said each of the country’s 81 provinces can get P500-million to P1-billion; each town P50 million to P100-million; each city P150-million to P300-million and each barangay P3-million to P5-million for development projects.
The added amounts are on top of the 20 percent of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) for LGUs’ local development projects, plans and activities.