Mayor calls for increase of IRA to spur livelihood

BAUKO, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE -- With the abolition of the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of lawmakers by 2014 and submission of priority projects for line item budgeting, Bauko Mayor Abraham Akilit is calling for the increase of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of municipalities.

In a press conference following the mayor’s report on his 1st 100 days, Akilit said an increase in IRA is direly needed for infrastructure projects to spur livelihood initiatives in this fourth class municipality. These include construction of farm to market roads, food processing and vegetable trading centers and organic fertilizer manufacturing structures and facilities.

The first time mayor in his October 10 report also launched his banner program "gameng ya katagoan" (resource and livelihood) on watershed protection and management, livelihood, tourism and special projects focused on income generating projects.

Bauko's watersheds begin with the mighty Chico River with waters sourced from watersheds Mt Data, Kalawitan and Am-o. Akilit, former regional director of the National Irrigation Authority (NIA), wants these watersheds protected and conserved through reforestation and regreening programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management Project (INREMP) of the government.

Vegetable production, which is the main livelihood of this second biggest town in the province, will be developed by strengthening organic farming alongside reforestation. With organic vegetables, including Bauko’s carrots, potatoes and leafy vegetables, food processing is major direction to take with equipment support coming from the Department of Science and Technology, Akilit explained.

The participation of non government organizations and peoples/sectoral organizations is enjoined. Akilit said revenue generation is a major direction for this fourth class municipality considering the half million contributed by local revenues on top of its P67 million IRA from national coffers.

An open door policy of governance to bring government closer to the people was forwarded by Akilit through the establishment of a Citizen’s desk at the lobby of the municipal hall and a performance billboard containing information on budget, programs and projects of the LGU, apart from consultation activities.

In his first 100 days, Akilit reported he initiated organization of councils on development, school board, peace and order, law enforcement, tourism, nutrition finance and livelihood to support his administration.

Updating the comprehensive land use plan (CLUP) is equally a main activity to identify zoning for development, ensure efficient allocation and management of the town’s land and serve as one basis for the formulation of the annual investment program of the municipality. (Gina Dizon)

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