NEDA pitches roadmap for federalism shift
MANILA, Philippines – The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) made public the agency’s proposal on how to shift to a federal form of government.
In a statement, NEDA proposed that the shift should be carried out in 5 phases spanning 15 years “to avoid disruption to the economy’s growth momentum.”
Phase 1 – NEDA proposed that the 1st year of the transition to federalism should be devoted to spatial analysis of federated regions.
Moreover, the regions’ socioeconomic profiles, accounting of government workforce and functions, mapping of existing laws, regulations, and policies should be done during this time.
“This can be accompanied by an extensive review and amendment of provisions of the 1987 Constitutions that have limited the country’s opportunities to achieve inclusive growth and development,” NEDA said.
Phase 2 – After 5 years of laying the foundation for federalism, the regions should be prepared for rationalizing government structures and functions.
This phase includes the extensive review and amendment of the local government code and the administrative code.
“During this period, a transitional period charter should be adopted and the federal transition commission must be established,” NEDA said.
Phase 3 - During this phase, NEDA said that the transitional government can be activated and spans 3 years. The government will be prepared for genuine devolution at this point.
Phase 4 – The “operationalization” of 5 pilot federated regions based on readiness and willingness will be done for 5 years.
Phase 5 – The transition government is deactivated. The amended constitution is also ratified at this phase.
Moreover, the regional development councils “may serve as interim regional governments.”
NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie Edillon detailed the transition roadmap to the cabinet-level economic development cluster (EDC) on Wednesday, August 29, which has been submitted to the constitutional review committee.
“We need a forward-looking strategy to strengthen the capacities of the bureaucracy at both the regional and local levels to take on central office functions,” Edillon said.
NEDA estimated the cost of federalism to fall somewhere around P156.6 billion to P243.5 billion.
The range is a far cry from the consultative committee’s estimates of only 13.29 billion.
Edillon also pointed out funds and spending mismatch issues in the proposed federalism charter. (READ: Dominguez warns unclear federalism proposal would scare investors)
Estimates show that the split in the spending between the federal government and federated regions is not 50-50, but 60-40.
“If government obligations including subsidy, tax expenditures, interest payments, net lending, financial expense and capital outlay will be included, the split in spending would be around 80-20,” NEDA said.
Edillon warned that the mismatch will “impede the delivery of goods and services under its jurisdiction.”
NEDA also warned about the uncertainty in the business environment and the cost of doing business. – Rappler.com