Taking public governance discussion to a new level, the labor department’s Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) conducted a policy forum on federalism.

ILS Acting Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Satumba said the forum, which was attended by DOLE officials and employees, discussed issues concerning the proposed shift in government form, including its risks and opportunities and other possible policy implications on labor and employment.

The forum was organized under iGov Talks, the ILS’s annual good governance advocacy platform anchored on DOLE’s moral renewal agenda through its Integrity Development Initiative.

DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya talked on the pros of having a federal form of government as it differed from a unitary system where, he said, economic imbalance is prevalent and growth is only concentrated in the mega Manila region.

He demonstrated how the government spent taxes in 2016 where public expenditures of the national government accounted for 72 percent of the entire General Appropriations Act compared to only 18% of local government units.

“Federalism is the practical solution to age-old problems of poverty, inequality, and instability. For a diverse and multi-cultural country such as ours, federalism provides a system where national unity is maintained while protecting the diversity of our society,” Malaya told the forum.

He said the transition to federal will enable the Regions’ participation in national decision making, accelerate the economic development of the regions, achieve peace in Mindanao, and allow the preservation of the culture of the various ethnolinguistic groups.

He also discussed the possible division of power in a federal form, as well as the duties and responsibilities of the President, Prime Minister, the Vice President, including some changes in the legislature and Senate, and the extent of the authority of the regional governments.

#Paul Ang

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