Carlos Dominguez III
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier warned against rushing into the planned shift to federalism, saying Con-Com’s draft has “ambiguous and unclear” provisions on revenue and spending assignment.
Geremy Pintolo
Economic team to closely study new federalism drafts — Dominguez
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - July 17, 2019 - 12:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Tuesday the economic managers would closely examine new drafts of the proposed federal charter, adding that economic discussions on the possible shift in the form of government have been inadequate so far.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said the Philippines must overhaul the 1987 Constitution and switch to a federal system of government to close the country's widening wealth gap and empower regional governments.

In an interview with Cignal TV’s ONE News, Dominguez said the previous draft crafted by members of a consultative committee did not answer key economic issues.

The charter reviewers, whom Duterte appointed, proposed that federated regions be given a share of not less than 50% of all national taxes.

“You know that draft is little over a hundred pages and there were three pages on the economics — cannot be,” Dominguez said of Con-Com's draft charter.

“The business sector, the banking sector — basically the Filipino people — have to know a little more about how this new charter is going to affect them and their way of doing business,” he added.

“So we said this particular draft was not adequate to the task. So, essentially, if there is a new draft we will certainly take a good and close look at it.”

'Don't rush into federalism'

Dominguez earlier warned against rushing into the planned shift to federalism, saying Con-Com’s draft had “ambiguous and unclear” provisions on revenue and spending assignment.

International debt watcher Moody’s Investors Service also cautioned that federalism could present downside risks to the country's institutional and fiscal profile.

Last month, Duterte struck a defeatist tone and declared he was now open to the possibility that his proposed shift to a federal government will not gain support. But he urged local officials to at least amend the Constitution “that would change this nation.”

“So if we are going to study a federalism measure by the House, then it should meet those standards that it should be more efficient; it should be clearer; it should cost us less rather than more,” the Finance chief said.

“This federalism issue from the point of view of economics has not been discussed enough... You know, that might be a big disincentive for people to come in because, again, the rules are not going to be clear,” he added.

“There is nothing fundamentally unviable about it (federalism). But there are unviable versions of it.”

READ: NEDA proposes phased, 15-year federalism shift

CARLOS DOMINGUEZ III FEDERALISM
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