Revisit Local Government Code instead of cha-cha | Inquirer Opinion

Revisit Local Government Code instead of cha-cha

/ 05:02 AM May 19, 2022

With the apparent win of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the presidential election, knowing that he belongs to the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, some sectors of society are pushing for constitutional change leading to federalism.

I do not wish to sound antifederalist, but I still maintain that it is better for us to revisit Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, than to change the Constitution. Why amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution when in fact many of us are not still knowledgeable about it? If this is, indeed, widespread and persistent, then there is a very little chance and hope that our people would understand the proposed federal constitution of which they have heard so little. Is this not paradoxical?

Let us instead amend the Code — amend some of its provisions in view of intensifying decentralization, instead of amending the Constitution to give way for federalism. After all, Section 521 of the Code states that Congress shall “undertake a mandatory review of this Code at least once every five (5) years and as often as it may deem necessary, with the primary objective of providing a more responsive and accountable local government structure.”

Furthermore, are our people ready to accept political or constitutional change? It is my view that any political reform that is introduced must be for the people and must be appreciated by them. Simply put, there is no sense of “ownership” by our people to any political change that is beyond their understanding. Our people would be deprived of “legal empowerment” if they cannot appreciate any changes in the political system.

FEATURED STORIES

On record, the Local Government Code of 1991 will turn 31 years old on Oct. 10, 2022. From 1991 to date, there is no “major” amendment yet made to the Code to strengthen and enhance the powers of the local government units (LGUs). I suggest that when we amend the Code by looking into its provisions pertaining to the following: self-governance of LGUs, IRA sharing, parameters of devolution and decentralization of powers, disaster risk reduction management efforts, and the like.

REGINALD B. TAMAYO
Marikina City
[email protected]

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TAGS: charter change, constitutional amendments, Letters to the Editor, Local Government Code, Reginald B. Tamayo

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