CITY OF MALOLOS – The delegates from the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of the Kingdom of Bhutan paid a visit to the province of Bulacan to learn more about decentralization in the Philippines.
Headed by Secretary Dasho Sonam Topgay, the delegates arrived at 9 am and made a courtesy call to Gov. Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado at the Governor’s Office before proceeding to the seminar held at Balagtas Hall, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.
The governor said that visitors are always welcome and the province is always willing to share its knowledge and experiences.
During the seminar, Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Arlene Pascual presented the advantages derived by the province from decentralization and the practice of Participatory Governance.
Furthermore, Board Member Enrique Dela Cruz presented the exercise of legislative powers of the Provincial Government like borrowing money, issuance of bonds, and concurrence in appointment, and tax exemptions among others that need their approval through votes. He also dealt with how the government works from its ideal point of view to what happens in reality including defects in government.
Secretary Topgay asked the opinion of Dela Cruz on the 60%-40% share in the Internal Revenue Allotment.
Dela Cruz explained that this division of the pie does not actually happen in reality that is why the administration is pushing for a Federal form of government and many are agreeing to it because of the benefit of having more budgets.
“If we would only be allowed to retain the 40% and simply remit the 60% to the national government, our IRA would’ve been more, we could have a lot more,” Dela Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Francisco De Guzman, Officer-in-Charge of the Provincial Budget Office, discussed the Utilization of IRA and Local Income Generation.
“We are here in the Philippines to actually learn from your experiences with decentralization. We’ve been here since 24th of June and I must say that the experience has been very enriching. A lot of valuable tips and experiences have been shared with us and I think what we have seen, heard and learned during our stay in the Philippines will help us give final shift to the decentralization policy draft that we are now on the verge of finalizing,” Topgay said.
After the presentations, they toured around the city and visited the historical Barasoain Church.
The group had a two-day seminar at the University of the Philippines prior to their visit in Bulacan, and will head to Taal, Batangas and Quezon City Hall and some barangays there to expose themselves more on the benefits and ways of decentralization before heading home on Saturday.