Diokno seeks LGUs’ support for local finance reforms

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno sought the support of local chief executives in the passage of critical legislative measures that aim to empower local government units (LGUs) to attain fiscal sustainability.

“First of these is the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform, which is a priority bill of [President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.]. This aims to establish a just, equitable, and efficient real property valuation system,” said Secretary Diokno at a gathering of Leyte and Samar mayors.

Secretary Diokno told local chief executives that the proposed reform in real property valuation will enable LGUs to optimize revenue collections and promote genuine local autonomy.

The Department of Finance (DOF) is likewise pushing for the adjustment of the income thresholds and the regularization of the review of the income classification of all provinces, cities, and municipalities through the LGU Income Classification bill.

Secretary Diokno also told local chief executives about the LGU Property Insurance bill that seeks to widen the scope of the insurance coverage for the protection of local government assets and communities against significant losses of scarce resources due to extreme weather events and other disaster risks.

He also said that the government seeks to amend certain fiscal provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

“These amendments include simplifying the rate structure of local business taxes; assigning more revenue-productive taxes to LGUs; and providing a mechanism for administrative recourse in case of dispute related to LGU taxing powers,” Secretary Diokno explained.

Secretary Diokno cited the benefits that recent game-changing structural reforms bring to local economies.

The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE cut the corporate income tax rate by 10 percentage points for domestic micro, small, and medium enterprises, and 5 percentage points for all other corporations.

“CREATE also rationalized the country’s incentives system, allowing us to choose investors on the basis of their strategic benefit to the country. The modernized fiscal incentives system gives superior incentives to investments in the countryside to attract investors to set up their business in areas outside of Metro Manila,” said Secretary Diokno.

The government also enacted amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Foreign Investments Act, widening the space for international businesses to invest in previously protected sectors and form more joint ventures with Filipino companies.

“We invite you to take advantage of these investment-friendly reforms to spur more business and job creation in your respective municipalities,” said Secretary Diokno.

“The DOF looks forward to working closely with you in developing our local communities to become stronger, more resilient, and more competitive in the new economy,” Secretary Diokno added.