Reduce Pork Barrel of Congressmen

The internal revenue allotment (IRA) will decrease in the last six months this year, and has caused concern among local government units (LGUs) on hampered delivery of basic services.

An allocation from the national government, IRA is the biggest source of fund that determines the yearly budget of the LGU.

There are fears that constituents may misperceive the reduction as an indication of a government getting out of fiscal control in the wake of crisis that has admittedly sown discontent among the people.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Regional Director Carmela Fernan timely explained in a consultative conference in Balilihan on Tuesday the causes of the adjustment.

She said the decrease in IRA starting this month until December is caused by the bigger releases from January to June.

The releases in the first half of this year already exceeded half of the entire IRA for 2008, the budget official said in the meeting attended by five other regional directors, provincial officials, mayors and vice mayors.

Rep. Edgar Chatto, together with Rep. Roberto Cajes and Rep. Adam Relson Jala, arranged the important interactive conference which the First District solon hosted during Balilihan's vesper day.

The other regional directors in attendance were Ric Oblena of the Department of Agriculture, Josefino Rigor of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Merceditas Enriquez of the Government Service Insurance System, Danilo Bonabon of the National Food Authority and Pedro Noval of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Mayors themselves helped identify the regional agencies that should participate in the consultative conference and direct interaction.

Town leaders were eager to be enlightened so that they could in turn explain to their constituents the sudden thinning of coming IRA releases.