Issue of September 12, 2021
Mt. Province

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Mandanas ruling to boost Cordillera’s autonomy bid
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The push for regional autonomy in the Cordillera remains stronger than ever despite the impending implementation of the Mandanas Ruling by the Supreme Court through Executive Order 138, which provides for the full devolution of certain functions of the national government to the local government units.

The Mandanas Ruling will also pave the way for an increase in LGUs’ share from national taxes by 2022.

As explained by Department of the Interior and Local Government-Cordillera Director Araceli San Jose, the Mandanas Ruling of the SC in 2018 and confirmed in 2019 clarifies the computation of shares of LGUs from the national taxes.

Based on the SC decision, LGUs will have a share from national taxes and not just from internal revenue collection and therefore strengthens fiscal decentralization.

Senior Economic Development Specialist Marciana Madaksec of the National Economic Development Authority-Cordillera said regional autonomy remains one of the development goals of NEDA for the Cordillera.

She said the devolution of national government functions to LGUs and increase in fiscal resources will not make regional agencies working on making the Cordillera an autonomous region complacent, but will all the more push for such constitutional provision for the region to become autonomous along with the now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The devolution will not be a hindrance for us. It will not affect Cordillera as a regular region even if becomes autonomous. Huwag tayong malito o maging complacent na meron na ang EO 138 wala na ang ating quest for autonomy. We continue to push for it,” Madaksec said.

She said in fact EO 138 is a mechanism to prepare the region towards autonomy and if the region is successful in the implementation of the full devolution of certain powers of national agencies to LGUs, the region can be confident that its LGUs will be capable more of managing greater power under an autonomous setup.

Under the current setup, the Cordillera stands to get a share from the national tax allotment (formerly called internal revenue allotment)  pursuant to EO 138. If it becomes an autonomous region, the region will get its budget as an autonomous region as well is its share that will be given by virtue of the Mandanas Ruling.

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