MANILA A political analyst on Wednesday said the shift to a federal system of government would not exceed PHP30 billion, allaying fears that the shift might be too costly.
In a federalism media forum held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session Hall in San Juan City, Prof. Edmund Tayao, a member of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) that drafted the proposed federal Constitution, corrected the assumption that the national bureaucracy will be duplicated in the regional government under a federal system.
He said the rationalization of the national bureaucracy would in fact bring in more savings than expenditures for the government.
"In the long run, mas makakatipid ka kasi magra-rationalize ka. Top-heavy kasi yung bureacracy natin eh... Sa computation namin, hindi ka lalampas ng PHP30 billion kasi ang madadagdag lang na gastos mo yung additional elected officials sa regional government (In the long run, you end up with more savings due to rationalization since our bureaucracy is top-heavy. Based on our computation, the cost won't exceed PHP30 billion. The only added cost would be the additional officials for the regional government)," Tayao said.
"May regional offices ka na eh sa madaling sabi hindi mo kailangan magdagdgag ng bagong office for transportation, for higher education kasi nandyan na (There are already existing regional offices that's why you don't need to create new offices for transportation, for higher education, etc.)," he added.
Tayao earlier said the estimated cost of the federalism shift is about PHP13.29 billion, lower than the estimates of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) pegged at PHP253.5 billion and the PHP320-billion estimate of the Department of Finance (DOF).
He said the government could also tap unused savings, noting that the national government returns at least PHP600 billion un-utilized funds to the national treasury.
Tayao likened the federalism shift to moving into a new house, wherein it might seem costly at first but you end up with more savings in the long run.
"Ang sinasabi lang namin para kang lumipat ng bahay pag lipat mo ng bahay may cost. So sa umpisa talagang magastos ka... pero pagkatapos nun mas maganda na yung takbo mo. 'Yun yung hindi mo ma-factor in sa cost (What we're trying to say here is that (shift to federalism) is like moving into a new home. Initially, there are costs to take into account but after that, everything runs more smoothly. That is what you cannot factor in the cost)," Tayao said.
The federalism roadshow is being conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, in partnership with the regional Philippine Information Agency offices and ConCom.
It aims to develop and disseminate collaterals that will increase awareness and information to voters on the weaknesses and malpractices in the unitary system through evidence-based studies, and why the country needs constitutional reforms and transition to federalism. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency