South Cotabato to slash MOOE next year; cites reduced IRA

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/10 November) – The provincial government of South Cotabato is cutting back on its maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) by next year due to the reduction of its annual Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the national government.

Elvira Rafael, South Cotabato provincial treasurer, said the provincial government received a notice that it will get an IRA of P751 million for next year or down by P36 million from this year’s P787.8-million allotment.

For the entire province, which is composed of 11 towns and one city, she said the total IRA for next year will be reduced to P2.1 billion or a P104.16 million drop from this year’s P2.21 billion.

Rafael said the provincial government, which is currently preparing its 2012 budget, is implementing cuts in its MOOE budget for next year due to its reduced IRA.

“We will not be cutting our budget for basic services but only for the MOOE. This includes purchases for office supplies, gasoline, oil and lubricants, electricity and water consumptions, among others,” she said in a report from the South Cotabato Information Office.

Rafael also said the third tranche of the salary increase for provincial government workers next year will not be affected by the budget cut.

The IRA of local government units (LGUs) represent 40 percent of the national internal revenue taxes collected in the third fiscal year before the current fiscal year.

The IRA sources are income tax, estate and donors’ tax, value-added tax, other percentage taxes, excise taxes, documentary stamp taxes, and such other taxes that may be imposed and collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Rafael said Koronadal City, which is a component city of South Cotabato, is getting an IRA cut of around P20 million after its total share of P425.59 million this year will further reduce to P405.2 million next year.

The municipality of Sto. Nino, which received an IRA of 57.12 million this year, posted the least cut for next year with only P2.45 million.

Rafael said the huge reduction in Koronadal City’s IRA for next year was triggered by the earlier conversion of 16 municipalities across the country into cities. Six of these new cities are in Mindanao, namely, El Salvador in Misamis Oriental, Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte, Bayugan in Agusan del Sur, Tandag in Surigao del Sur, Mati in Davao Oriental, and Lamitan in Basilan.

Marlon Gumbao, Koronadal City treasurer, said they have also set some cuts on its expenditures for next year as a result of the reduction of its IRA share.

He said among the items that would likely be affected are the allotments for fuel of local government vehicles and official travels of city officials and employees.

Gumbao said the local government has so far reduced its proposed operating budget for 2012 to P440 million from its initial target of P525 million as a result of the IRA cut. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)