House approves bill on LGUs’ share of nat’l taxes for health services

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MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday passed a proposal mandating all local government units (LGUs) to set aside at least 15 percent of their yearly national tax allotment share for health services on second reading.

The parliament approved House Bill 10392 by voice voting, which aims to amend Section 287 of the Local Government Code of 1991 to ensure the appropriation of at least 15 percent of LGUs’ share of all national taxes or revenues for health services.

The bill mandates that the Department of the Interior and Local Government, as well as the Department of Health (DOH), get copies of health programs, including the distribution of free medicines to indigent patients of local government units.

According to relevant provisions of Republic Act 11223, also known as the Universal Health Care Act, LGU health initiatives must be approved by local health boards in compliance with the DOH’s standards and criteria.

House health committee chair Angelina Tan said that in addition to local development activities, providing excellent, accessible, and relevant health services is essential, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Based on my initial talks with the Department of Health, the plan really is to push for the renationalization of the country’s healthcare system. But here comes the Mandanas-Garcia Ruling where the Supreme Court says that the ‘just share’ of local government units (LGUs) includes all national taxes and not just the national internal revenue taxes, but also customs duties and others. By virtue of this development, LGUs IRA (internal revenue allotment) are expected to increase starting next year,” Tan said.

The proposal, according to Tan, is based on the fundamental policies outlined in Republic Act No. 11223 or the UHC law, which takes an integrated and comprehensive approach to ensure that all Filipinos are health-literate, live in healthy environment, and are protected from hazards and risks that could harm their health.

“The pandemic has underscored the important lesson that LGUs must be at the frontlines of UHC implementation inasmuch as the law ‘requires local leaders who recognize that health is not just one of their concerns but is in fact a strategic concern that has wide-reaching impact on stubborn societal issue’,” she said.

LGUs’ share in national taxes

House Bill 10296, which intends to boost local government participation in national development by increasing the share in national taxes, was also adopted on second reading.

The bill aims to change the existing internal revenue allotment formula to incorporate all types of national taxes in the computation.

The measure’s objective is to empower LGUs to deliver better services and initiate more development initiatives.

It intends to boost the local government’s share of national taxes from 40 percent to 50 percent based on the collection of the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year and thereafter.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.