Federalism to unlock economic potentials of regions: ConCom

MANILA The federal form of government being pushed by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will unlock the economic potentials of the other regions of the country, Consultative Committee (ConCom) member Roan Libarios said on Friday.

Under the proposed federal Charter, Libarios said exclusive economic powers will be devolved to the regional governments, giving them more leeway to chart their respective economic development.

Because we have given them more authority, we expect the economic potentials for development of the regions, Libarios said during the Palace federalism media briefing.

So the source of revenue and finance administration, all these now will be handled by the regional governments and no longer by the national government. And this will be considered as exclusive power of the regional governments, he added.

Libarios, former Integrated Bar of the Philippines president, said there is serious imbalance in economic development among regions and over concentration of economic resources and power in the center under the present unitary form of government.

He said the National Capital Region, which is the seat of national government, and neighboring region of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) received over 50 percent of investments from 2013-2016.

The two regions also account for 53 percent of the country's gross domestic product while the remaining 15 regions would only account for 47 percent based on 2016 government data.

So we are proposing for a shift from principally unitary to a federal setup of government to check the imbalance. We are proposing for spreading out of the economic development, he said.

The exclusive economic powers proposed by ConCom, which Duterte tasked to review the 1987 Constitution, include socio-economic development planning; creation of sources of revenue; financial administrative and management; tourism, investment and trade development; and economic zones.

Libarios stressed the need to change the Constitution because the present Constitution is incapable of recognizing regional governments.

To spread economic development, there is a need to enhance just and equitable share in economic resources and benefits, he said.

He said regional governments will also exercise general supervision over the local government units and authority over developed regional line agencies.

Libarios said other exclusive powers include land use and housing, business permits and licenses, municipal waters, indigenous people's rights and welfare, culture and language, as well as sports developments and parks and recreation.

He said regional and local government will receive 50 percent or more of the national taxes that will divided equally among the regions.

The poor regions will also get not less than three percent from annual national budget to boost further respective economic development, Libarios added.

He said Congress may also provide additional funds for the federated regions. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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