Cayetano bats for 'economic federalism'; here's what he means

Published February 21, 2022, 1:55 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Economic federalism.

These are two words that, when put together, would spell progress for the Philippines, according to Taguig-Pateros 1st district Representative and former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

(Photo from former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s office)


“Wouldn’t it be better if every region, at the regional and provincial level, did the planning for themselves?” Cayetano said in Filipino during a radio interview over the weekend.

He said despite having an additional P500 billion to the national budget for the planning and bidding of programs, these funds are not being integrated into programs that can benefit vital aspects of daily life such as roads, education, agriculture, and healthcare.

Cayetano, who is eyeing a return to the Senate in the May 9, 2022 polls, reckoned that it would be beneficial for the country if local governments were able to plan projects and bid them out as part of their administrative and financial responsibilities. This system, he said, is also known as “economic federalism”.

After all, they already have their respective Regional Development Councils with the governors, congressmen, and mayors, and that’s where they can do the bidding.

Cayetano cited the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games as an example, during which many developments were seen in Clark, Pampanga, in such a short time. Not only was the international airport improved but the central business district bloomed.

The senatorial candidate said this raised the number of jobs in the area and encouraged local work rather than moving all the way to the city.

“I think together with having more funds outside Metro Manila, giving the regions the power to plan, implement, and bid out the projects will be beneficial,” the veteran lawmaker said.

Cayetano said the benefits of decentralizing spending responsibilities to a regional level include improved planning, better monitoring of projects’ progress by local media, and–in case there are problems–better contact and communication.
 
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