Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan (BusinessWorld)
The government has included drug rehabilitation facilities among projects open for funding from internal revenue allotments, according to a joint memorandum from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Budget department.
The joint memorandum circular 2017-1 dated Feb. 22 issued updated guidelines on the appropriation and utilization of the 20% of internal revenue allotment (IRA) set aside for development projects as prescribed by law.
Under the allowable social development projects chargeable against the IRA funds, “Special Drug Education Centers,” and “Drug Treatment/Rehabilitation Centers,” were added to the list, among others.
According to section 287 of Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code, local government units (LGUs) “shall appropriate in its annual budget no less than 20% of its annual internal revenue allotment for development projects.”
The 20% development fund is used to finance a local government unit’s priority development projects, as listed in its Annual Investment Program (AIP), which is required to be “directly supportive of the Philippine Development Plan and Public Investment Program.”
Chapter 18 of the 2017 Philippine Development Plan, which deals with ensuring public order and safety, cited the need for rehabilitation centers to reduce the demand for illegal substances, in conjunction with anti-illegal drug law enforcement operations reducing drug supply.
The spotlight on illegal drugs stems from President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s hardline stance on drugs, which aided his successful bid for the presidency.
Also new to the list of eligible projects were post-harvest facilities, such as tractors, threshers and mechanical driers; development of alternative power or energy sources, such as, but not limited to, renewable energy power plants; and the purchase of garbage trucks and other equipment for environmental management and protection.
The projects must “contribute to the attainment of desirable socioeconomic development and environmental management outcomes of the LGU, and shall partake the nature of investment or capital expenditures,” read the circular.
According to Local Budget Memorandum No. 74 dated June 15 2016, the IRA level this year is P486.885 billion, 13.59% higher than the P428.62 billion ceiling in 2016.
The 2018 IRA however has yet to be released by the second half of this year.