TACLOBAN CITY -Local government units (LGUs) should be given directly their share of taxes from national wealth.
This is being suggested by the members of the Leyte provincial board which recently unanimously approved an endorsement supporting four Senate bills namely 241, 427,827, 1085, which provides for mechanisms for national wealth taxes to be directly given to host local government units.
Vice Governor Carlo Loreto noted that the proposal can improve the collections of the LGUs share of the national wealth tax and at the same time fast track the process for the host provinces, cities and municipalities to get hold and utilize their excise taxes.
At present, the share of LGU in national wealth taxes has to be remitted first to the national government and will remain in government coffers for three years before it will finally be released to the concerned LGU.
“The proposed bill is good because, as it is, there is already a delay in getting the remitted taxes back to the LGUs,” Loreto said.
Out of the 45%, only 40% shares are being remitted back to LGUs which, according to Loreto, this causes delay to development projects the taxes are intended for.
The Local Government Code provides that in addition to the internal revenue allotment (IRA), LGUs shall have an equitable share in the proceeds derived from the utilization and development of the national wealth within their respective areas, including sharing the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits.
The amount of share is 40 percent of the gross collection derived by the national government from the preceding fiscal year from mining taxes, royalties, forestry and fishery charges, and such other taxes, fees, or charges, including related surcharges, interests, or fines, and from its share in any co-production, joint venture or production sharing agreement in the utilization and development of the national wealth within their territorial jurisdiction.
In June, the Department of Budget and Management released in a total of P863,722,833.48 from the total actual collection amounted to P2,158,194,583.76, as 40% share of LGU in the proceeds from petroleum, coal, geothermal, hydrothermal, and wind resources.
Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas get the biggest allocation of shares in the amount of P724.84 million, P49.21 million, and P33.55 million, respectively.
Leyte hosts the largest geothermal field and a number of other mining explorations. (AHLETTE C. REYES)