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PIA Press Release

PGMA to prov'l governors: Support BIR in drive to improve tax collections

PILI, Camarines Sur (14 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has urged the country's 81 provincial governors to support the Bureau of Internal Revenue's (BIR) Local Government Unit (LGU) Assurance Program for fast and better revenue collections.

"I ask our governors to join the BIR's LGU Assurance Program which will result in better collections of both national and local taxes," the President said in her speech yesterday at the 2nd General Assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) at the Villa del Rey in Pili, this province.

"But while the fiscal numbers are better than expected, we need to work harder and more effectively in improving the tax effort together," the President said as she cited the country's 7.3 percent economic growth in 2007, the fastest in a generation, along with the significant reduction of the national budget deficit to P9.4 billion, the lowest in a decade.

She told the provincial executives that she has always supported the LGUs' right to receive their Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs) in full to help them deliver better services to their constituents.

"When I became President, I waived the President's prerogative to retain part of the IRA as the so-called Local Government Social Equalization Fund. After that, we have provided automatic appropriation for your IRA. We have even paid debts of previous administrations," she said.

She also said that she has directed Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. to study how "to securitize the IRA shortfalls from the years when we had re-enacted budgets" so that the LGUs can have additional funds for their expenditures.

According to her, the government has secured a $300-million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Local Government Financing and Budget Reform.

She stressed that this program will support the Department of Finance efforts to help the LGUs "improve your capacities to plan and budget, as well as deliver better services for the general welfare of your constituent communities."

She said the program will support reforms such as in intergovernmental fiscal relations; fiscal management, planning and public expenditure at the LGU level; LGU performance measurement and service; credit financing; and local-own source revenue. (PIA) [top]

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