LOCAL government units (LGUs) posted a surplus of P279.4 billion last year, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told the Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday, reflecting their revenue collection efforts as well as their share of National Government revenue.

Mr. Diokno, speaking to the committee, said provinces reported a surplus of P57.65 billion, cities P94.48 billion, and municipalities P92.39 billion. The Special Education Fund posted a surplus of P36.8 billion.

“It’s revenue, from (the) National Government plus their locally collected revenue minus their expenditure,” Mr. Diokno said.

LGUs are entitled to a share of 40% of the National Government’s “internal revenue,” with their share formerly known as the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). Following a Supreme Court ruling redefining the scope of the LGU entitlement, the IRA was renamed the National Tax Allotment.

The surplus reinforces fears that LGUs will not be able to spend their expanded allotments due to a lack of capacity to plan for or implement projects devolved to them from the National Government. — Diego Gabriel C. Robles