The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) Central and Regional Directors, officials, and members of the Project Steering Committee (PSC), Project Management Office (PMO), and Project Management Unit (PMU) represented by R.G. Manabat & Co., conducted the 1st Local Governance Reform Project (LGRP) Planning Conference on 16 and 17 December 2021 at the Royce Hotel and Casino, Clark Freeport Zone, Mabalacat City, Pampanga.

Executive Director Niño Raymond Alvina, in his opening message, appreciated the help and support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and underscored the need to level off expectations and align the goals and objectives in the LGRP.

We can achieve the goal to improve the capacity of the local government units (LGUs) in the areas of revenue generation and local governance, in furthering their local fiscal autonomy and support to their administrative autonomy, to set a bigger and stronger foundation for central decentralization,” Executive Director Alvina said.

In a keynote message, Department of Finance (DOF) Revenue Operations Group Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko, who joined the plenary conference virtually via Zoom, highlighted that the LGRP will empower LGUs to raise funds and build fiscal resiliency.

Undersecretary Tionko added that the DOF will provide continued guidance and direction to the LGUs in the implementation of new policies upon the passage of Package 3 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) and to keep the project’s momentum going in preparation for the transition to the new President and Secretary of Finance.

I want to look back to the LGRP as an important and the most meaningful investment of the DOF and BLGF, that lead to irreversible positive changes that drove the current lack-luster valuation sector, to one that is modern, trustworthy and world-class,” she said.

Executive Director Alvina said that the LGRP aims to achieve the outcome level of at least 1,458 or 80% of LGUs achieving 100% collection efficiency, an increase of 30% of total own-source revenues, and real property tax (RPT) collections by Php26.7 billion from the 2017 level, by FY2024. “We want to increase the revenues from property tax, do the right valuations, put in the right systems and database, train the assessors, and develop new policies on property tax administration,” he said.

Several recommendations were also made during the breakout sessions which will serve as inputs to the revised workplan for presentation to the BLGF management. The planning conference served as a starting point for the meaningful participation of the project teams and stakeholders in the forthcoming meetings and activities.

The planning conference also tackled the overview of the Administrative Order (AO) No. 40, the project’s logical framework, the Philippine Land Management Reform Roadmap, the revised procurement plan and implementation updates, and the Gender and Development (GAD) mainstreaming per ADB guidelines.