Press Release
May 9, 2023

CHIZ PUSHES FOR GENUINE AUTONOMY AND EMPOWERMENT OF LGUS

While local governments are cutting red tape, they remain victims of excessive controls by the national government, resulting in inefficiencies that slow down the delivery of public services, Sen. Chiz Escudero said.

Escudero is calling for "an audit of this glut of orders from the national government, so the unnecessary ones will be repealed."

Drawing from his experience as Sorsogon governor, he has filed bills that will scrap "Made-in-Manila directives" that hinder effective LGU administration, "many of which have been issued by those who have never even served as barangay kagawad."

"What these out-of-touch bureaucrats don't realize is that what may look good on paper or in Powerpoint will do bad on the ground," he said.

And if there is one official today who has experienced the problems created by "national government overreach on LGUs, it is the President himself, "Escudero said.

An Ilocos Norte governor for nine years, President Marcos Jr "is now in the position to help LGU executives get rid of the administrative baggage that the central government has imposed on them," Escudero said.

"We can begin by granting LGUs more say on how to utilize their Internal Revenue Allocations and local revenues. Kasi ngayon parang tied grant itong IRA. Eh kung tutuusin, buwis ito ng tao na ibinalik lang sa kanila," he said.

Escudero has filed Senate Bill 51 which "prohibits any form of interference by national government ggencies with the use of the national tax allotments and locally generated revenues of LGUs."

A more comprehensive checklist of reforms that will strengthen local autonomy and improve government decentralization is contained in Escudero's SB 52.

"There are other reforms which can be done administratively like shrinking the areas, cutting the documents, reducing the number of signatories from national government agencies on activities local government are doing, "he said

"Halimbawa, ay mga klase ng travel order ng isang ordinaryong kawani na kailangan pang pirmahan ng Secretary of Interior and Local Government, "he said.

There also purchases which have to be approved by Manila, "an example of how financial remote control is making life hard for the people below."

In contrast, national government is given wider leeway in allocating or obligating funds, or in borrowing money, Escudero said.

"LGU ka na uutang ng pera para sa isang trak ng basura, ang haba ng proseso. Pero ang National Government kung uutang, wagas. Bilyon-bilyon, ni ha, ni ho sa Kongreso, wala. No public hearing. But in the end, sino magbabayad ng mga ito? Taumbayan, "he said.

He said the memoranda and circulars that the DBM, DILG, COA, CSC, DOF have issued should be reviewed, and those which are too restrictive, those that hamper LGU operations and autonomy should be repealed."

"Tapos kung merong bagong fad on public administration, na nakukuha sa seminars abroad, these are experimented on LGUs, ginagawang guinea pigs," Escudero said.

"The President has been there, done that. He should champion these reforms. He should free LGUs from red tape by the national government," he said. While local governments are cutting red tape, they remain victims of excessive controls by the national government, resulting in inefficiencies that slow down the delivery of public services, Sen. Chiz Escudero said.

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