Businessmen weigh in on planned federalism shift

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2016 05:30 PM

MANILA - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez pitched President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to shift the country's form of government to businessmen on Thursday, drawing various reactions.

Former Prime Minister Cesar Virata proposed dividing the country into Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao since many regions could not be self-supportive.

"That way there are more provinces and cities that can help each other within the established region in the Philippines. And we have 3 stars in the flag," Virata said.

A federal system will improve disaster preparedness according to urban planner Jun Palafox.

"If a big earthquake, God forbids, happens in Metro Manila, it will cripple our economy. Forty percent of our economy, government, education, culture and sports are concentrated in Metro Manila," he said.

Management Association of the Philippines President Perry Pe said a federal system would encourage friendly competition among states.

"Regions will craft their own laws, taxation system, craft their own revenue-raising policies and entice foreign investments to come to them. Everybody will now be involved in nation building.... That makes it fascinating..."

Peter Wallace of the Wallace Business Forum said some powers such as taxation were better left to the national government, but with room for federal states to modify to attract investments.

"One state might decide it will give tax free incentive for investments for a particular sector that they want to boost," he said.