August 31, 2012
Koko seeks return of Bacolor IRA to pre-Pinatubo level
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, has moved to exempt the municipality of Bacolor, Pampanga from the application of the population requirement in the computation of its share in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
In a resolution, Pimentel asked the Senate Committees on Finance, Local Government and other appropriate committees to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation to cause the return of Bacolor's IRA share to its level prior to its depopulation caused by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on June 15, 1991.
While thousands of residents of Bacolor had been relocated to resettlement areas outside of the town, Pimentel noted that "the municipality of Bacolor is functioning as if its population has not been depopulated."
As the local government unit most affected by lahar flows brought about by Pinatubo's eruption, many of Bacolor's residents had been relocated to resettlement areas in Bulaon, San Fernando; Madapdap resettlement in Mabalacat; Sta. Lucia resettlement in Magalang, Pandacaqui in Mexico and other municipalities in Pampanga.
But the 'former Bacolor residents' now found in evacuation and relocation centers have retained their voters' registration in the Municipality of Bacolor and demand the availability of basic services through their elected officials despite having been relocated, said Pimentel.
The senator stressed that because of this, Bacolor performs constituency services to those former Bacolor residents now found in evacuation and relocation centers.
"The obligations, responsibilities, functions and duties of the Municipality of Bacolor can best be met if its IRA is computed as if its population has not been depopulated, that is, using the population figures prior to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo," said Pimentel in his resolution.
"The unfortunate incident that happened in Bacolor is force majeure and could be classified as a 'special case' which requires special treatment" in the application of the population requirement in the computation of IRA share pursuant to Section 285 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.
The aforementioned section of RA 7160 provides that the share of municipalities in the IRA shall be allocated based on population (50%), land area (25%)and equal sharing (25%).
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