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PIA Press Release

Bohol mayors fear lesser IRA after census

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (6 September) -- DIS-ENFRANCHISEMENT of smaller towns, this is what Maribojoc mayor Leoncio Evasco feared as a result of the recent 2007 census of population conducted by the National Statistics Office nationwide.

Mayor Evasco, who used to administer the country's biggest city told mayors gathered during the regular League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Meeting at the Jjs Seafoods Wednesday that small local government units could be at the losing end of the line if census enumerators adhere to the survey guidelines.

The recent survey guidelines allegedly ask the enumerators to list only the people who have established daily residence in the place, Evasco shared.

While I told my enumerators in a meeting not to cheat, I also asked them to be liberal in their interpretation of the survey guidelines, Evasco said.

By this, a barangay resident who studies or works in cities and major centers while staying there most of the time could be listed as city resident, and his barangay could lose him, Evasco explained.

The LMP in general share the same apprehension.

Just as Mayor Evasco wants the organization to cope up with a position paper on this, LMP President and Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren says the LMP could formally request the NSO to liberally interpret the guidelines in favor of the smaller local government units.

The fear is rooted primarily on the relative effect of population in the determination of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), Dimiao Mayor Sylvia Adame confirmed during the plenary of the regular LMP meeting.

IRA is the annual share local government units get from the proceeds of the national internal revenues generated from taxes, a share that is determined by the number of people the local government is supposed to serve and the land area it is to maintain.

"The result actually is more IRA for the cities who have more, while smaller local government units could end up with less IRA shares, the former Davao City administrator hinted.

With the possible decrease in population in smaller LGUS due to strict adherence to the census guidelines, smaller units may be lost, he added.

Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado said when LGUs are so dependent on the IRA, the National Statistics and Coordination Board should also look at the issues raised here.

With the issue, the governor, who is leaving for Manila volunteered to hand-carry the LMP resolution to the proper authorities. (PIA) [top]

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