BAGUIO CITY – (9 June 2021) – The city’s budget preparations for 2022 that will consider the “new normal” after the coronavirus-2019 pandemic,  starts next month according to city budget officer Atty. Leticia Clemente in Monday’s flag-raising rites at City Hall headed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

“We also anticipate a change and re-structuring of our organization and services as more functions are expected to be devolved by the national government as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Mandanas case,” she said.

The Mandanas Doctrine clarifies that the share from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the local government units (LGUs) does not exclude other national taxes like customs duties.

Clemente welcomes the increase in the IRA, now known as National Tax Allocation (NATA), of LGUs by at least 56.79 percent. However, she is uncertain whether the increase can cover all requirements of the functions to be devolved since guidelines are still for approval by the President.

“Definitely, belt-tightening policies will continue in the upcoming budget preparation.  Despite the rigid financial challenges, this should not stifle innovation and creativity as long as prudence is exercised in the process,” she said.

With all these changes happening, it is time for reflection on what has been and how the pandemic has changed our lives and other sectors, Clemente added.

She said that now is the opportune time for the city government to collectively develop better frameworks and restructure its projects, programs and activities (PPAs) to keep these attuned to current situations and anticipate the future.

 “Our plans and budget preparations will be geared towards economic recovery and resilience,” Clemente assured.-Gaby B. Keith