As federalism takes back seat, DILG pushes constitutional reforms

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2019 05:14 AM

MANILA—The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is launching a new campaign in October to push for "surgical" amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

Coined as Constitutional Reform (CORE), this new approach aims to introduce reforms in order to spur countryside development instead of overhauling the constitution, said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

"Sa tingin po namin, ganitong klaseng approach, mga surgical amendments ay mas madaling maipasa sa Senado kaysa sa revision ng Saligang Batas," he told radio DZMM.

Among their proposed amendments is increasing the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of local government units (LGUs), which will include tax collections of other government agencies aside from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

"Gusto po natin na ilagay ito sa constitution para sigurado tayo na 'yong mga rehiyon ay magkakaroon ng mas maraming pondo," said Malaya, also DILG spokesperson.

The DILG also wants to give authority to Regional Development Council (RDC) instead of being a mere recommendatory body.

"Ang gusto po sana namin maging Regional Development Authority na siya para magkaroon siya ng pondo at magkaroon ng authority na mag-implement ng proyekto sa rehiyon," he said, adding it will address a gap in the governance structure.

Malaya, however, said they are still not giving up its push to change the country’s form of government to federalism, which is President Rodrigo Duterte's major campaign promise.

"We are giving our senators and the President himself, we are giving him all the options available para piliiin niya kung ano 'yong naaangkop sa panahon kasi we only have 3 years in the President's term," he said.

Duterte has pitched the federal form of government as an antidote to the country’s problems by spreading more wealth and political power to the regions.