A former three-term mayor of Valenzuela City said shifting our current government system into federal form is a viable solution in pushing for regional and socio-economic development in the country.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian added, however, that much study is still needed to be done if we want to successfully implement federalism in the Philippines.
“In principle, aaminin ko po maganda ang konsepto ng federal government, lalo na sa pagdating sa pagpapalakas at pagsusulong ng pagbabago sa bawat sulok ng bansa,” Gatchalian, who is a member of House Committee on Local Government.
“But then again, everything is in the details. Marami pang tanong pagdating sa mismong implementasyon. Kabilang na dito ang paghahati ng mga lugar, revenue at kung paano ang transition,” he explained.
Calls to adapt the federal government system in the Philippines have sparked recently when Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is one of the leading presidential options for 2016 National Election, has started advocating it through his Listening Tour.
Gatchalian pointed out that transitioning into federal government would be hard on poor localities due to their reliance on the national government for funds and support.
“Isa sa mga unique form ng federal government ay dapat kumita ang mga bawat local goverment para maipatupad ng maayos ang kanilang programa,” he explained.
“Kung ipapatupad ito ngayon sa Pilipinas, mahihirapang tumayo mag-isa iyong mahihirap na lalawigan dahil wala silang strong self-generating revenue systems para makakuha ng pondo. Kaya ito pong mga ganitong setup po ay dapat pang pag-aralan at linawin,” he said.
The former mayor said the local government units (LGUs) must first strengthen their capability to generate local revenue in order to make themselves more sustainable and less dependent on the national government.
“Dapat palakasin pa ng bawat local government ang kanilang kakayahan para lumikom ng pondo para kung magkaroon man ng federal government, at least handa sila para maging self-sustainable,” he said. (Tim Alcantara)