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Propelling Devolution: Assessing Local Government Units’ Capacity and Challenges

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), held a public webinar on July 13, 2023, from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM via Zoom.

This virtual event featured the PIDS study Baseline Study on the State of Devolution in the (Pre-Mandanas) Philippines by PIDS consultant Marianne N. Juco, Senior Research Specialists Ricxie B. Maddawin and Robert Hector G. Palomar, Research Analyst Mark Gerald C. Ruiz, and former Research Fellow Charlotte Justine Diokno-Sicat.

Recent developments have propelled the decentralization agenda in the Philippines. The Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling in 2019 broadened the base in determining the share of local government units (LGUs), significantly increasing its fund allotment. This serves as an opportunity for LGUs to reassert their local autonomy by fully taking charge of devolved functions and revenue-raising responsibilities. Executive Order 138, series of 2021, specifies the guidelines for effectively transitioning the functions and responsibilities from the national to the local governments.

The study evaluated the LGUs’ devolution transition plans (DTPs) to establish a baseline of the current devolved functions and capacities. It showed that the LGUs’ varying priorities and capacities challenge the complete devolution target in 2024. The paper emphasized the need for enhanced data collection on LGUs’ devolved functions, the adoption of an asymmetric decentralization strategy given the inherent differences among LGUs in terms of needs and capacities, improved coordination between and among national agencies, LGUs, and local constituents, and greater guidance from national agencies for a successful devolution.  


Presentation of Marianne Juco, Consultant, and Ricxie B. Maddawin, Senior Research Specialist, Philippine Institute for Development Studies 

Presentation of Hon. Mercedes K. Alvarez, Chairperson, House Committee on Local Government  Representative and Negros Occidental Sixth District Representative