Equal sharing of IRA over disputed areas sought

Bokod, Benguet September 11 – The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) passed a resolution requesting the Department of budget and Management (DBM) to equally release the corresponding Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) covering areas subject of boundary disputes by local governments in the different parts of the region.

The adoption of the resolution was an offshoot of the issue raised by Gov. Crescencio C. Pacalso regarding the failure of the DBM to release the IRA of the area being disputed by municipalities that also result to the non-release of the IRA due to the provincial government in relation to the said contested areas.

RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR chairman and Baguio city mayor Mauricio G. Domogan proposed that instead of the DBM withholding the IRA covering the disputed areas of municipalities, cities and provinces involved in boundary disputes, the funds must first be equally divided between the contending local governments so that the share of the province could also be released and used for the implementation of priority development projects and to improve the delivery of basic services to the people.

Pacalso claimed that there are a number of municipalities that have inter-municipality disputes with their neighboring towns inside and outside the province, thus, the said local governments are deprived of the IRA covering the disputed areas that also result to the non-release of the share of the province thereby depriving the people the projects and delivery of basic services that they deserve to have.

Both bodies also adopted Domogan's proposal for the concerned municipal councils to pass the needed resolutions that will allow the proposed equal sharing of the IRA covering the disputed areas on a temporary basis while waiting the resolution of the boundary dispute to allow the involved local governments to benefit from the utilization of the supposed idle funds being kept by the national government.

He explained that the same arrangement will also be applicable to municipalities from two separate provinces or two provinces involved in boundary disputes so that whatever mounts due to the local coffers from the IRA covering the disputed areas will be downloaded for the use of the concerned local governments in the implementation of their priority development projects beneficial to the welfare of the people in their areas of jurisdiction.

Pacalso noted that boundary disputes involving different local governments inside and outside the province have not been settled for decades now, thus, millions of pesos in IRA covering the disputed areas have not been released to the said municipalities and provinces that deprived them of additional sources of funds for development projects and enhance the delivery of basic services to the people in their places, thus, it is now high time that a definite action must be done to compel concerned government agencies to act on the matter to help in advancing rural development.

The approved resolution will be transmitted by both bodies to the DBM for appropriate action of concerned authorities with the hope that positive action will be taken on the matter.

By Dexter A. See

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