New DSWD Bicol chief tells workers to brace for change

By Cet dematera


NEWLY-installed Regional Director Leo L. Quintilla of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol has asked the agency’s officials and employees to brace for the “big change” now that the Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) is set to be fully implemented starting 2022.

“(DSWD) as the key player in the implementation of social welfare and development programs and services, we should not just focus on preparing the LSWDOs (local social welfare and development offices) in the implementation of the Mandanas ruling but more so, let us prepare ourselves for this very big change,” Quintilla, a native of Iloilo City told DSWD Bicol employees upon his assumption of office early this week.


Quitilla, a native of Iloilo City, did not elaborate. He replaced Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia. However, research conducted by Bicol Mail reveals that Quitilla was referring to the devolution of several functions of the DSWD to local government units (LGUs) next year, among which are the sustainable livelihood program and feeding program.


Apart from social welfare and livelihood functions, others that will be devolved to LGUs are local infrastructure, agriculture and healthcare. Meanwhile, the social pension program will be transferred to the National Commission of Senior Citizens which is not part of the devolution rule.


The devolution of many of DSWD’s functions is part of the operationalization of the Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court. The ruling pertains to the increase in the base figure in determining the percentage of the share of LGUs from the national taxes or internal revenue allotment (IRA) that will result in an estimated increase of 20 to 27 percent in LGUs’ share.


To mitigate the fiscal impact of the Supreme Court ruling, the budget will be restructured, with numerous functions of national agencies to be devolved to LGUs. A draft Executive Order detailing the implementation of the Mandanas rule has reportedly been prepared by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which according to news reports will be signed by President Duterte soon.


DSWD is already in the process of formulating the policies and standards that will guide the delivery of social welfare services for both the national agencies and the LGUs.


The devolution, according to Bicol Mail’s research, will result to retrenchment of employees of the DSWD and other government agencies whose functions will be devolved to LGUs.


Quintilla, upon his assumption of the top DSWD post in the region promised to continuously uphold service and performance excellence and to do better especially in coming up with new processes that will hasten the effective and efficient delivery of social services to Bicolandia.


“He encouraged his team to work more closely together to meet and hit targets with flying colors especially now that the implementation of the Mandanas Ruling is forthcoming,” DSWD-Bicol spokesperson Marygizelle B. Mesa, said.


In a webinar on Tuesday, Apr. 27, DBM Sec. Wendel Avisado said some agencies at the national level may have to be downsized, merged, or even be abolished as several projects will be devolved to LGUs in 2022 to comply with the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Mandanas case.


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.


“The exclusion of other national taxes like customs duties from the base for determining the just share of the LGUs contravened the express constitutional edict in Section 6, Article X of the 1987 Constitution,” the SC decision stated.


Accordingly, the national taxes to be included in the base for computing the just share of the local government units (LGUs) shall not be limited to the following:


a) The national internal revenue taxes enumerated in Section 21 of the National Internal Revenue Code collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs;


b) Tariff and customs duties collected by the Bureau of Customs;


c) 50 percent of the value-added taxes collected in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and 30% of all other national tax collected in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao;


d) 60 percent of the national taxes collected from the exploitation and development of the national wealth;


e) 85 percent of the excise taxes collected from locally manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes and other tobacco products;


f) The entire 50 percent of the national taxes collected under Sections 106 (Value-Added Tax on Sale of Goods or Properties), 108 (Value-added Tax on Sale of Services and Use or Lease of Properties) and 116 (Tax on Persons Exempt From Value-Added Tax (VAT)) of the NIRC as provided under Section 283 (Disposition of National Internal Revenue) of the NIRC; and


g) 5 percent of the 25 percent franchise taxes given to the National Government under Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6631 and Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6632.


DSWD Bicol is considered a mega region because of its mega budget, targets, big number of state aid recipients, and diverse culture and politics.


Economic managers expect the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petition to cost the National Government P234.4 billion or equivalent to 0.92 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) once it takes effect in 2022.


The downsizing of the government agencies is part of the Executive Branch’s plan to comply with the SC ruling, Mr. Avisado said.


He added it could also boost the local autonomy of LGUs and help with the decentralization efforts.