Federalism good for island nations like PH – DBM exec

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Nov) – An official from the Department of Budget and Management agreed that island nations like the Philippines should be headed for a form of government like federalism but that the next administration should put in place clear mechanisms to run such a government.

The comment was made after Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte last week formalized his candidacy as substitute candidate for PDP-Laban after repeated denials he was interested in the position.

Duterte has gone around the country ostensibly pushing for a federal form of government.

In an interview during Saturday’s Kusog Mindanao conference at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, DBM Assistant Secretary Maxine Tanya Hamada said the next government, if it does push for federalism, should establish how they see allocation and governance from a budget perspective.

Hamada’s response came after her presentation of the DBM’s budgeting of the national government’s projects for the 2016 General Appropriations Act.

“It seems like a logical model for an island nation, and it has nothing to do with budget priorities,” she said.

However, Hamada clarified that the federal government should strengthen its internal components, adding that the measures already in place under the Aquino government should still be kept or imitated, in the name of good housekeeping.

“Because regardless if its federalism, parliamentary or even centralized, if the mechanisms create the inclusive institutions on the ground, then it’s much better than, say, arbitrarily federalism that is corrupt,” Hamada said.

“Take the logic that we have to decentralize, if federalism yan, that’s fine, parliamentary, that’s fine. But look at the mechanisms of how we deliver the services,” she pointed out.

Hamada added that there needed to be a continuous dialogue between national and local government, including stakeholders from the private sector, academe, and media, so that the allocations are implemented based on agreed-upon priorities from the national government.

“First, let us not lose the efficiency measures that we put up in place so there’s guaranty that money will come in. It’s just good housekeeping, it’s just efficient public spending, accountability and transparency,” she said.