June 20, 2024

Here’s a case of two barangays in Baguio City whose budget decreased this year, when all others saw an increase in their annual budget, due to the “exodus” of their residents.
Instead of receiving more budget as a result of the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling that increased the tax share allocation of local government units from the taxes collected by the national government, barangays ABCR and New Lucban ended up receiving lesser shares.
The cut in the budget of the two barangays was due to the decrease in their population, which was based on the census conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when a lot of people in the cities were forced to go back to their provinces as a result of the lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
LGU shares from the national tax allocation (NTA), formerly the internal revenue allotment, are computed based on population, land area, and equal sharing.
During the council session on April 4, PSA representative Nalyn Isican said when they conducted the census of populationfrom September to October 2020, a lot of the housing units at ABCR and New Lucban were vacant, which meant the occupants were not counted.
The PSA representatives were invited to clarify the issue of barangays ABCR and New Lucban that got lesser shares because of the decrease in their population.
Isican said in the 2015 census, New Lucban had a population of 3,305 and this went down to 2,070 in the 2020 census or a decrease of 1,235 inhabitants.
For ABCR, its 2015 population was 1,697, which went down to 685 in the 2020 census of population, or 1,012 individuals lesser.
As a result of the decrease in the population of these barangays, City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente said their annual budget also decreased.
For ABCR, Clemente said the barangay’s budget decreased by P158,000. Its budget this year is P2.5 million.
For New Lucban, the barangay’s budget is lesser by P17,000. The barangay’s budget this year is P4M.
Asked by Councilor Lourdes Tabanda if the PSA can conduct another survey to recapture the actual number of inhabitants of ABCR and New Lucban since those who moved to their home provinces are now back, Isican said a new survey can no longer be done.
“We can only do another census in 2025 because that is what the law requires,” she said.
She said they raised the possibility that the conduct of census during the height of the pandemic will have an effect on the figures, but added the PSA central office said the survey must be conducted.
Tabanda said it is unfair for ABCR and New Lucban to endure the predicament and wait until another census in 2025 for their budgets to increase.
She asked Clemente if the city government could help the two barangays by sourcing funds to fill the deficit.
Clemente said the decrease in the two barangays’ budget could be remedied by adjusting their allocation for the 20 percent development, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, and Sangguniang Kabataan funds.
“We went over the allocation of their budget and the honoraria of officers will not be affected (but) they need to distribute the decrease in their budget to other aspect, such as the 20 percent, SK fund, and the DRRM fund,” she said.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan asked if the city could address the deficit in the two barangays budget through a supplemental budget, but Clemente said since this was not done in the past, she will have to raise the matter with the executive department.
“We will consider that with the executive since we will undergo the prioritization process when we work on our supplemental budget,” Clemente said. – Jane B. Cadalig