Saturday August 18, 2018

Palace says federalism will not hamper growth

THE proposed shift to a federal government would not hamper the Philippines' economic growth, Malacañang said Wednesday, July 18.

"The shift to federalism, we reiterate, would have no adverse effect on the Philippine economy," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.

On Monday, July 16, Duterte's top economist, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, cautioned that the country's economic progress may be disrupted if the government pushed for federalism now.

Pernia said the country needs more time to implement the shift to a federal system, noting that some regions are not prepared for such transition may suffer.

"Federalism may be good for the economy and for the people but we really have to do our homework first in terms of preparing well for the country for the economy to be ready for federalism," he said in a television interview.

"It's unlikely that the regions will be ready and our concern, my concern, is that we are moving now to connect the region, to bring the lagging regions into the mainstream economy and that momentum of infrastructure improvement in the regions is going to be disrupted so it's not foing to be good for federalism," Pernia added.

The Consultative Committee (ConCom), which was tasked to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution, has released its final draft of the proposed "pro-poor" federal government that will be "strong enough" to hold together the various federated regions that will be "socially, politically, and economically sustainable."

Under the ConCom's proposed federal charter, there will be 18 federated regions, including the Bangsamoro and the federated region of the Cordillera.

Each federated region will be headed by a regional legislature, regional executive, and regional judiciary.

The draft charter will allow the proposed federal government and federal regions to govern the people "less in competition but more in cooperation," ConCom chair Reynato Puno earlier said.

Roque said the Palace already talked to Pernia to clarify the economic manager's previous remark.

Once the federal system is enforced, the national government's role is to continue implementing its ambitious "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, Roque said.

He added that the national government would concentrate on policy-making under the proposed federal government.

"Our budget would remain the same, as identified. National projects would be devolved and transferred to the internal revenue allotment of local government units," Roque said.

"These projects include maintenance of village roads and bridges, water supply services, village health centers and daycare centers, solid waste disposal system of municipalities, among others," he added. (SunStar Philippines)