EDITORIAL

More funds for LGUs

THE police alone can’t curb criminality. One way of strengthening the government’s peace and order campaign is to empower local government units. How? One is to ensure enough funds for local government units (LGUs) to implement development projects.
It will help bring down criminality by attracting people to work on development projects instead of resorting to petty crime. In many cases, petty crimes stem from poverty. When there are many opportunities presented by development projects, we can expect less reason for people to resort to crime to make ends meet.
Why not download funds from the national budget to the barangay, city, municipal and provincial levels? This scheme also shares the objective of federalism – to empower local government units with sufficient funds to implement their own development projects – without having to go through the process of amending the 1987 Constitution.
For example, each of the country’s 81 provinces can get P500 million to P1 billion; each town P50 to P100 million; each city P150 to P300 million and each barangay P3 to P5 million for development projects. These are on top of the 20 percent of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) for local government units’ local development projects, plans and activities. The funds may be taken from the unused part of the national budget, which amounts to an average of P332 billion a year from 2002 to 2015. Such unused amounts ballooned to P703.6 billion in 2015.
If local government units get enough funds to implement development projects, we can generate jobs and perhaps even lure people in urban areas to return to their home provinces. The bottom line is providing people with job opportunities. Most of the time, desperate, economically depressed people to resort to crimes for survival. They should be given better alternatives and empowered local government units have a big role to play in this regard.

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