OF THE 25 towns and cities in Negros Oriental, 24 are all set for their devolution transition plans for this year’s implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petition.

This was disclosed by Engr. Gemelyne Espina, focal person of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in a Kapihan sa PIA forum.

Espina said the ruling will empower local government units (LGUs) to deliver better services to their residents.

“Starting 2022, LGUs are now primarily responsible for the delivery of devolved functions to their constituents until full assumption at the end of 2024,” she said.

Silliman University Government Affairs (Suga) Director Dr. Michelle Naranjo said the most important salient feature of the Mandanas ruling is the increase in the national revenue share of the LGUs.

Suga is part of DILG’s devolution core team assisting the LGUs in facilitating, preparing, and implementing the devolution transition plans (DTPs).

Naranjo said various national government functions set to be devolved to the LGUs must permanently be taken away from the national agencies to empower LGUs to assume them.

Some of the said functions include health services, local infrastructure, revenue mobilization, employment facilitation, social welfare, housing, natural resource management, and agricultural services.

With the ruling, it is projected that LGUs will see a 27.61 percent increase in their total IRA shares.

But Espina said “with great funds come great responsibility, so LGUs should manage and fund the priority projects and basic services and facilities in their respective localities.”

Espina also noted that there is nothing new with the devolved functions that are already in Section 17 of the Local Government Code, except for new laws that require LGUs to create a solid waste management plan and implement the Ease of Doing Business Act.

Naranjo said the Mandanas expects to improve the capacity of LGUs and enhance transparency and accountability.

“Thorough planning of variable basic services will pave the way for government sectors to implement PPAs, and by tapping private sectors' expertise, this might be a paramount move for the LGUs to create or implement the much-needed services needed by the community,” the Suga director said.

Suga offers to provide capacity-building support to LGUs to improve their implementation capacity and overall service delivery especially in the planning stage. (PIA)