Business World - Town mayors support change in IRA computation - Nef Luczon

CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Town mayors in Lanao del Sur are supporting a proposal from the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) to include bodies of water and coastal areas in the computation of internal revenue allotment that goes to local government units.

Lampa I. Pandi, LMP-Lanao del Sur chapter president and mayor of Poona Bayabao town, said such proposal, which shall be submitted to the Congress is expected to be beneficial to Lanao del Sur since the province has Lake Lanao, the second largest in the country and a resource shared by the province’s 39 local government units including Marawi City.

"The lake is vast and there is a big potential in developing it to something useful, like a mariculture farm or large fish ponds," he said. 

Generally, IRA is computed based on local government unit’s population and size of the administrative area. The proposal to include municipal water and coastal areas was discussed by LMP national officials led by Mayor Donato D. Marcos of Paombong, Bulacan during the League’s conference held in this city last week. 

Lake Lanao has a surface area of 340 square kilometers, the largest lake in Mindanao, and is counted as one of the 15 ancient lakes in the world. 

It has a maximum depth of 112 meters, and a mean depth of 60.3 meters. The basin is shallowest towards the north and gets progressively deeper towards the south. 

Hydroelectric plants installed on Lanao del Sur’s Agus River system, which is dependent on Lake Lanao, generates over half of Mindanao’s supply of electricity. 

Other than the lake, the province has at least two municipalities that have coastal areas along Illana Bay on the Moro Gulf. 

However, the proposal to expand internal revenue computation’s coverage would take a long process since even as some local officials noted it might need charter change and not just amendment to the local government code. 

But LMP’s plans, local officials said, are backed by Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, who said that any plan within the Senate and the House of Representatives in relation to this objective would get his approval. "I believe this is the key to (preventing corruption at the local level)," he said. 

Another proposal, he told media during his visit here, would seek local government reforms such as adjusting compensation of municipal mayors similar to the system operating in Singapore, where mayors and other government executives would be "compensated in a manner that will be commensurate to their status, and their responsibility."