With 40% of tax revenues remaining in the region if decentralization happens, Davao will see developments beyond the growth it’s currently experiencing, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya believes that federalism will modernize agriculture and lure businesses into the Davao Region, thereby stimulating expansion not just in the cities, but in the provinces as well.
“Agro-industry is pushing the Davao Region towards blossoming industrialization. Imagine the possibilities if the regional government has the funds and power to enact projects and programs that would stimulate investor confidence,” says Malaya.
With industries flourishing backed by expansions in agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishery, Davao Region became the second fastest growing economy region-wise in the country last year.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Davao Region’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 10.9% in 2017, second to the 12.1% expansion of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
To discuss more about Davao’s potential under a federalized system, the DILG will hold its fourth federalism roadshow in Davao City on August 1-3.
The roadshow will consist of a media forum at the Mayor’s Conference Hall in the Davao City Hall, a Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors at the Grand Menseng Hotel and a convention/rally at the Rizal Park.
The town hall meeting will tackle topics such as agricultural modernization, insurgency, indigenous peoples’ concerns and the Bangsamoro autonomy.
“We want to engage people from all walks of life so that they will know that this advocacy for federalism is for the good of the Filipino people. We thus invite interested Davaueno to our town hall meeting and federalism rally,” says Malaya.
Indigenous peoples’ rights
Citing Article 2, Section 24 of the Consultative Committee’s draft Bayanihan Federalism Constitution, Malaya assures the Davaueno that the Federal Republic will continue to recognize, promotes and protect the rights of the indigenous people.
This is to address concerns that federalism will strip the indigenous people of their rights.
“The indigenous people will be well-represented in Congress. Aside from that, the new constitution makes sure that the Federal Republic will respect indigenous peoples’ customary laws in terms of ancestral domains, lands and resources within their territory,” says Malaya.
The draft also states that while indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare will be handled by the Federated Region, while the Federal Republic will take charge over agrarian reform towards the benefit of landless farmers without overstepping on the ancestral land rights of small settlers and indigenous people.
Concom’s model likewise allows Congress to create a consultative body to advise the federal President on policies affecting indigenous peoples.
Representing the majority of this consultative body will have to be those who came from such communities.
“When the government formulates its federal and regional plans and policies, it will take into consideration the rights of tribal groups, so there’s nothing to fear,” says Malaya.