Federalism good but mechanisms should be in place: DBM official

AN OFFICIAL from the Department of Budget and Management agreed that federalism would be the ideal setup for an archipelago like the Philippines.

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

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 it views allocation and governance from a budget perspective.

Hamada’s response comes 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, she 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 that’s federalism, that’s fine, parliamentary, that’s fine. But look at the mechanisms of how we deliver the services.”

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 in place so the money will really arrive. That’s just good housekeeping, that’s efficient public spending, accountability and transparency,” she added.

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