MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) should transfer some of its tasks to local government units as the country is expected to face a "serious fiscal problem" in the coming years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Philippine economy to contract this year, while a tax measure seeking to decrease the corporate income tax rates in the country is expected to lower government revenues next year, Drilon said during the DILG's budget hearing in the Senate.
"Our agency should open their mind to the devolution of their functions to local government units," he said.
"The national government may face unmanageable deficit unless we do something," he said.
Drilon cited the management of jails as an example, saying that cities and municipalities can afford to manage their own penitentiaries, instead of giving the national government a separate budget for the upkeep correctional facilities.
"The facilities of the jail is not top priority of national government," the Senate Minority Leader said.
"The only way to decongest the jail is to devolve this to the local government. They have sufficient funding," he said, noting that the internal revenue allotment is pegged at P1.83 trillion in 2021.
The management of fire stations and services should also be turned over to local governments, the lawmaker said.
"There is no additional source of income... and our revenue stream will be affected by this CREATE and other legislation that we are doing today," he said, referring to several tax policies pending in Congress.
"I hope our national leadership listens because we will be scrambling next year for a very difficult financial crisis given the contraction of the economy this year and the low revenues next year," he said.
"A devolution of services should be taken seriously and with political will. Otherwise, we will really have problems," he said.