Expert affirms strong potential of Cordillera for financial autonomy

BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera has a strong potential to sustain its financial capacity if it becomes an autonomous region, according to the NEDA-Region X Director Maria Lourdes Lim, who also chairs the technical working group (TWG) on Wealth Sharing and Revenue Generation of the Bangsamoro.

During the Forum on Fiscal Viability of an Autonomous Region conducted last January 5 in Baguio City, Director Lim said that the strong potential of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)   for fiscal sustainability can be attributed  from its high per capita transfers or national government allocation per person and its locally-generated revenues. Only CAR shares this status with the National Capital Region (NCR), she added.

Despite CAR’s constant receipt of the lowest national government allocation as compared to other regions, she explained that it has the highest capacity to generate local revenues, a major determinant of its potential for fiscal sustainability.  Director Lim suggested that local government units in CAR should lower their high Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) dependency ratio which ranges from 72 to 93 percent, broaden their tax base and increase efficiency in collecting revenues.

Meanwhile, Cordillera RDC Vice-Chairperson and NEDA Director Milagros Rimando said the forum served as venue to learn and evaluate whether the Cordillera, as an autonomous region or as a federal state, can be financially sustainable.  She added that RDC-CAR is planning to partner with the Local Government Development Foundation and Philippine Institute for Development Studies for the conduct of fora within the year.  She also shared that NRO-CAR is coordinating with the NEDA Central Office regarding the funding of a study on the fiscal viability of the Cordillera as an autonomous region.

The forum, coordinated by the RDC-CAR, was attended by local government assessors, line agency representatives, the academe and autonomy partners and advocates from the government and civil society organizations.#