Business groups back economic managers, urge Congress to weigh costs of shift to federal govât
Seven business organizations said they are joining the economic managers' "call for a more detailed analysis of the fiscal impact of federalism to serve as basis for the deliberations in Congress."

Business groups back economic managers, urge Congress to weigh costs of shift to federal gov’t

( - August 12, 2018 - 6:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — Several business organizations expressed support to the Philippine economic managers who earlier called on legislators to carefully review the government’s shift to a federal government.

In a joint statement released Sunday, seven business groups said it is asking Congress to weigh the costs and risks involved in the proposed shift to a federal system of government.

“We, too, believe in the need to adhere to the  public finance principle ‘funds follow function.’ Accordingly, we echo the concerns of fiscal and economic experts about the ambiguous provisions on the division of revenue and expenditure responsibilities between the proposed federal government and its federated regions,” the groups said.

The seven groups which signed the joint statement include the following:

  • Cebu Business Club

  • Employers Confederation of the Philippines

  • Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines

  • Makati Business Club

  • Management Association of the Philippines

  • Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.

  •  Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.  

The organizations expressed concern over the alarming cost to the would-be multi-level government under a federal system.

“Preliminary estimates range from P72 billion of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies to P130 billion of the National Economic Development Authority,” the groups said.

The groups estimated the fiscal deficit to reach around 6.7 percent of the gross domestic product. They said the figure is “way beyond the sustainable 3 percent target of the fiscal managers,” which, they added, is a prudential limit also observed by the European Union for its member countries.

“We worry about the dire consequences that such fiscal imbalance could have on the economy and the flagship Build Build Build program of the current administration,” the groups said.           

The business organizations made the appeal after economic managers in the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, National Economic and Development Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and researchers of PIDS openly shared their analysis and aired their concerns to the public. The groups praised these economic managers for their efforts.

“We support and join their call for a more detailed analysis of the fiscal impact of federalism to serve as basis for the deliberations in Congress,” they said.      

“We encourage full, open, and dispassionate dialogues on  this proposed shift in form of government,  keeping in mind its long-term  impacts on future generations of Filipinos.”

Thr groups vowed to work with the political and economic leaders to bring sustained and inclusive economic growth in the country.

On Thursday, a member of the Consultative Commission asked President Rodrigo Duterte to fire Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia over negative statements about the shift to federalism. — Rosette Adel

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 10, 2021 - 11:35am

The consultative committee, tasked with drafting a new constitution, eyes the removal of the impeachment power of Congress over justices of the Constitutional Court, one of the proposed three Supreme Courts under the draft charter.

READ: Concom eyes 3 supreme courts

Concom proposes that the impeachment of justices in Constitutional Court be decided instead by the 15-member Supreme Court.

The proposed Constitutional Court will have a presiding justice appointed by the Supreme Court and six associate justices with two appointees each from three branches of government.

LIST: Controversial features of proposed federal charter by House sub-committee

— with Edu Punay

January 10, 2021 - 11:35am

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco says he wants to "liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution" upon authoring Resolution of Both Houses 2, that seeks to emdn the 1987 Constitution.

The House leader adds that they propose to amend certain sections of Articles XII (National Patrimony and Economy),  XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports) and XVI (General Provisions) to add the phrase "unless otherwise provided by law."

"As global economies slowly start to reopen, we cannot allow the Philippines to lag behind in terms of investments and opportunities. We need to seize the momentum if we are to fully recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19," Velasco says in a statement.

January 6, 2021 - 9:12pm

Two senators have filed a resolution to convene the 18th Congress as a constituent assembly to introduce limited amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

Sens. Bato dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 on December 7, which seeks to revise the constitution "limited to the provisions on democratic representation and the economic provisions of the Constitution."

"WHEREAS, against the backdrop mounting economic and health concerns brought about by the pandemic, it is important to ensure that the subsequent national policies and strategies for the rehabilitation of our nation be responsive to the needs of our people in order to bring about genuine economic growth and sustainable development," the resolution reads.

January 6, 2021 - 8:46pm

House of Representatives leaders meet on Wednesday to discuss Charter change. 

House constitutional amendments panel chair Alfredo Garbin tells that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco gave a directive to tackle proposed amendments to restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.

"It’s long overdue, ours is a 33-year-old Constitution of which it’s restrictive economic provisions no longer conforms to the needs of time," Garbin says. —  Xave Gregorio

September 28, 2020 - 3:54pm

President Duterte does not intend to stay in power beyond his term, Malacañang said yesterday, as it maintained that the 2022 elections can only be postponed if the 1987 Constitution is amended.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says the only elections that can be deferred are those that are not stated in the constitution like the barangay polls.

"It (postponing the 2022 elections) can never be an option for Malacañang unless the Constitution is amended," Roque says, noting that the Constitution specifies the date of the election of the President, Vice President, representatives, and senators.

"The President is not interested in extending his term and he leaves it to the Filipino people, the sovereign people, to decide if they want to amend the Constitution to postpone the elections," he adds.

The constitution states that the regular election for President, Vice-President, senators, and members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

December 16, 2019 - 1:57pm

An attempt at the House of Representatives to change the 1987 Constitution to give local officials five-year terms will not prosper in the upper house of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon says Monday. 

"If the House of Representatives would insist on passing Cha-cha, make it a point to include their return address, because the Senate and the Filipino people will not accept it," he says in a press statement.

He says charter change is not among the Senate's priorities, echoing an earlier statement from Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

The House committee on constitutional amendments reportedly approved in a closed-door meeting last week a resolution that would give House members and other local officials five-year terms from the current three-year terms.

The same resolution also adds the phrase "unless otherwise provided by law" to economic provisions in the charter.

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