Manila – Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno spearheaded the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the twenty (20) pilot local government units (LGUs) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two (2) partners from the academe for the Outputs 3 and 4 of the Local Governance Reform Project (LGRP), at the Department of Finance (DOF) Manila, on 02 March 2023.

In his keynote message, Secretary Diokno reiterated his firm commitment to complete the Project during the Marcos administration.

“I know this was delayed because of the pandemic, but I’m committed to complete this project before the 2025 elections”, Secretary Diokno emphasized.

Diokno added in his message that the project focuses on the three (3) major areas to boost the local government revenue generation.

“First, the Project aims to strengthen the operating environment of our real property tax generation and management through better policies and institutional structures. Second, it seeks to enhance local governments’ management tools using information technology and modern systems. And third, it implements support programs aimed at enhancing the competencies of our local assessors and treasurers”, Diokno said.

Governor of Quirino Province and National Chairperson of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), Dakila Carlo E. Cua, looks forward to the success of the LGRP.

“The LGRP is a crucial initiative that has the potential to bring about significant improvements in the quality of life for Filipinos across the country by empowering local governments to be financially self-sufficient through an enhanced quality of real property valuation and tax administration”, Governor Cua explained.

The MOA solidifies the partnership between the LGUs and the DOF, pertinent to the menu of technical assistance being offered by the LGRP to include technical assistance in the updating of LGUs’ tax maps and schedule of market values (SMVs), conduct of Tax Compliance Reviews and Tax Impact Studies to allow legislating tax rates, and empowering LGUs to update and approve respective SMVs and local tax maps.

The momentous event also kicks off the partnership between the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) through a MOU towards a holistic capacity building program of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF). For 2023, the said MOU is intended to be elevated into a MOA to serve as a sustainable mechanism in continuing the capacity development initiatives of the LGRP, to include training modules and systematic improvements in professionalizing the local assessors, in anticipation of the passage and implementation of the current Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform (RPVAR) bill.

Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez is optimistic that the project will improve the services provided to her constituencies.

“Our participation in the Local Governance Reform Project is one that would help us attend to the activities that are often dismissed, that is transactional, such as implementing electronic collection payment system, learning how to update market values of real property”, Mayor Torres-Gomez shared.

The MOA and MOU events contributed to the LGRP’s objectives of (i) enhancing the real property taxation capabilities of the pilot LGUs for replication of its best practices nationwide; (ii) professionalizing the local assessors and strengthening the financial capacity of LGUs pertinent to real estate valuation and assessment; and (iii) generating the appropriate tools to facilitate the implementation of property valuation reforms and advocacies, enhance domestic resource mobilization, and uplift the lives of respective constituencies.