The country’s top economic managers’ position on the Consultative Committee’s (Concom’s) draft federal constitution would be helpful in improving the draft charter further, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“The way we see it, the economic managers do not oppose a shift to federalism. They support federalism but they would want to focus on preparing the economic fundamentals for federalism to be fully implemented. This includes infrastructure and real dispersed regional development,” says DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya.
In fact, the administration’s Build, Build, Build and tax reform programs pave the way towards the shift to federalism, he adds.
Following an interagency meeting on Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said that a federal shift could incur the country an additional cost of P156.6 billion to P253.5 billion.
As such, Pernia said that this could cause “inevitable disruptions” to the country’s economic growth.
Malaya and the Consultative Commission (ConCom) disputed this, saying that their computation only puts the cost of federalism to P20 billion.
Despite this, the Department believes that the position of the economic managers serves as the beginning of the consultation process on the economic impact of federalizing the country.
“We appreciate that people are now coming forward to share their thoughts on the draft model. And we are actually encouraging these conversations because at the end of the day, it is the Filipino people who will decide what is best for the country,” says Malaya.
According to the Assistant Secretary, there will be continuing consultations and technical discussions with the economic managers to gather their inputs in order to unite under the President’s push for federalism.
This comes after critics slammed the draft model for its vague fiscal and economic provisions.
“We are a government united behind the desire of the President for real change that includes structural reform, thus creating a government and a society that is more able to serve the needs of all our peoples,” says Malaya.
Meanwhile, the DILG is optimistic of the continuing consultation process with the public, especially during the federalism roadshows it conducts in the regions.
So far, the government has conducted federalism roadshows in Dumaguete, Cebu, Baguio, Legazpi, Davao and Tacloban.
All these have been successful in rallying support from Filipinos from different parts of the country.
Aside from the regional federalism roadshows, the DILG has also opened its online Pederalismo platforms for the public to send their questions and feedback on Concom’s proposed charter.
The public may thus send their comments, reactions, queries and suggestions to the DILG Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform’s (CFCR’s) email: email@example.com or message the Pederalismo Facebook page @bayanihanfederalism.