Egalitarian | Federal constitution and strong regional governments

The Constitutional Commission proposed 18 regional governments or others call as States in the federated Republic of the Philippines.

This is too many but at least, we already have the model, to begin with. Previous studies reveal that for a State to operate in a year, an estimated total of P200 billion is needed, but this estimate was done in 2009 by former DILG Usec Sosmeña, eight years forward, the current estimate is pegged at 400 billion pesos.

On this, the government can start by using an incremental strategy in order to start with a good traction in the federalization process. On this account, former CJ Reynato Puno prescribed the formula for the federal republic to be successful; it is making the regional government strong.

So, at the onset we have 18 regional governments which will delivery public services to the constituents within its defined State territories.

It is important to realize that the State governments need to earn revenues on the one hand, and spend for its citizens on the other.

The economics of federalism points out at the good logic of the marginal social benefit against the marginal social cost. The benefit refers to the spending of the regional governments for the welfare of the constituents. The cost refers to the taxes and levies the people have to pay so that their government will work.

When States are contagious in terms of resources and people, then the burden of the tax will become difficult due to the principles of “voting by vote” and the “intertemporal nexus of production”. These two principles provides venues for taxpayers both people and establishments to avoid tax burden. The normal course to address this is to allow the federal government to intervene which will make the federalism format a kind of permissive federalism. Note that a permissive federalism is nothing but an expanded Local Government Code of 1990 put in place. So to address this, there should be parallel initiatives to craft State Constitutions to further articulate and at the same time limit the interpretation of the Federal powers in the State territories. This can be done by crafting State Constitutions in the identified 18 regional governments of the ConCom.

The State Constitutions will interpret the taxing powers, the revenue sharing, the determination of rights on extracted minerals, the exercise of customary laws and the protection of the Indigenous Peoples Rights. Thus, State Constitutions fortify the Federal Constitution as proposed by the ConCom and this will accelerate the federalization process of the country. MinDA is taking bolder steps in bring aboard the public in the discourse and even the crafting of foundations of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

Sooner, there will be public consultations for the Constitutions, both Federal and State Constitutions, across Mindanao.

Posted in Opinion