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DILG gives thumbs up to DBM recommendations on draft Federal Constitution

September 10, 2018

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) concurs with the Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s proposed recommendations on the proposed model for federalism.

During a press briefing at the Malacañang on Friday, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya agreed with the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM’s) stance that budgeting, accounting and internal auditing powers must be granted to the federal government.

“In federal countries, fiscal policy becomes a responsibility shared by all levels of government, but the federal government uses its powers of the purse and moral suasion through joint meetings to induce a coordinated approach to fiscal policy,” Malaya said.

According to Malaya, DBM’s proposal would safeguard the country from “errant fiscal behavior” that would complicate the implementation of both the fiscal and monetary policies.

Malaya also assured the public that the DILG and the Consultative Committee members are working closely with the country’s economic managers to come up with common figures on the additional costs of a federal shift.

Earlier this week, DBM recommended a three-year transition period towards federalism within President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), on the other hand, proposed a 15-year transition process with five phases, which Malaya believed to be “too long and may unduly prolong the full transition to a federal system.”

Malaya reiterated that ratification of the amended constitution must be done before the transition process.

“We must secure the mandate of the people first through a plebiscite before we can begin to transition to a federal system,” said Malaya.

Federated regions to receive more from national pie under federalism - Concom

Meanwhile, a federal shift would give each region, including Caraga, more funds to use for the development of their respective areas, according to Consultative Committee (Concom) member Atty. Randolph Parcasio.

Under Concom’s draft, regions will receive 50% in equal share of national revenues, specifically from the value-added tax, income tax, excise tax and customs duties, should federalism in the country push through, according to Atty. Randolph Parcasio during the Department of the Interior and Local Government's (DILG's) roadshow for federalism in Butuan City.

He roughly estimated the number to around P83 billion in equal share of the national pie.This is aside from the 3% equalization fund that the region will receive from the federal government.

Upon hearing this, Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada said that Concom’s equal share proposal would be good for the region if the country adopts the model.

“Federalism is good. We are not against federalism, but we need to prepare for that first,” said Lagnada.

Lagnada added that under the current system, Caraga doesn’t have the power, infrastructure, and resources that Metro Manila has.

The Butuan mayor thus emphasized the importance of clarifying the details of the draft with numbers in order for the federalism campaign to gain traction.

On September 6, 2018, around 95 representatives of LGUs, youth, business groups, farmers, and indigenous people in Region 13 flocked to the DILG's Pederalismoserye Town Hall Meeting with basic sectors to learn more about federalism, while more than 2,000 Caraganons filled the Capitol Covered Court in Butuan City to attend the convention/rally for federalism.

Federalism shares the power of the central government with the regional government, giving the regions the capacity and the funds to implement projects and programs that would benefit the regions.

According to Olivar, everyone must be patient and not to close their opinions on the draft as discussions on the fiscal aspects of federalism are still ongoing.

The DILG thus seeks to involve more Filipinos in the federalism debate in order for public awareness and knowledge on constitutional reform to increase.

So far, the DILG has conducted its regional roadshows in Dumaguete, Baguio, Legazpi, Davao, Tacloban, and Butuan.