THE BANGSAMORO Ministry of the Interior and Local Government has launched a program that aims to guide local governments on how they can increase their internally-generated revenue, which could be used for their own public service initiatives.
The Revenue Enhancement Assistance for Local Government Units (REAL) program will be piloted in three towns in Maguindanao del Norte and two towns in Lanao del Sur.
An agreement for the program’s implementation was signed Friday by the Interior ministry and mayors of the towns of Sultan Mastura, Buldon and Datu Blah Sinsuat in Maguindanao del Norte, and Pualas and Binidayan in Lanao del Sur.
Maguindanao Del Norte Gov. Abdulrauf A. Macacua welcomed the inclusion of three local government units (LGUs) in his province for what he called “pioneering implementation” of the REAL project.
“We are glad that the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) government has this kind of project to enhance the revenue-generation capability of LGUs in the autonomous region,” Mr. Macacua told reporters on Tuesday.
Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo said the REAL project is focused on helping local government units diversify their revenue-generation activities.
Mayor Marshall I. Sinsuat of Datu Blah Sinsuat, considered as the fishing capital of Maguindanao del Norte and the most peaceful town in the province, said residents and village officials have committed support to the program.
The town has an average of 10 tons of catch daily from its territorial waters.
“Our barangay officials have assured to support the REAL project, knowing that efficiency in revenue-generation is essential to expansion of good governance activities that require funding,” Mr. Sinsuat said.
Hamid K. Sumirado, a Maranaw rice trader in Lanao del Sur, said he does not mind paying local taxes as long as he sees the impact on public services.
“I’m a devout taxpayer. I will encourage my relatives and friends involved in various legitimate businesses to support the REAL project too,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lamitan City Mayor Roderick H. Furigay in Basilan said they are also ready for the implementation of the SEAL project to enhance local revenue.
“Our city has agricultural and fishing industries that pay taxes. We are ready for the implementation of the SEAL project in Lamitan City,” Mr. Furigay said. — John M. Unson