Finance chief 'absolutely' against draft federal charter

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2018 06:59 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2018 07:49 PM

MANILA - Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez on Wednesday told senators he "absolutely" would not approve of federalism as presented in the draft charter by the Malacanang-backed Consultative Committee. 

Dominguez, who was attending the Senate hearing on the 2019 national budget, said the draft constitution on federalism did not address important issues about the economy and could not be subjected to financial analysis. 

“I sat with the members of the [Consultative Committee] and you know my first question was: How do they see that the national debt will be paid? [how] the army, military, foreign affairs, central bank will be paid? And they said, 'Oh no, don’t worry about that. The split will be after those expenses.' But I said, it’s not in the draft," Dominguez told senators. 

"I had a long discussion with them and quite frankly, I was more confused than when I started. So, it’s good that it’s being discussed,” he said.

When asked by Sen. Franklin Drilon if he would vote against federalism if given the chance, Dominguez answered: ““Absolutely! Yes, this particular draft.” 

ConCom spokesperson Ding Generoso, meanwhile, insisted that fiscal administration in the draft charter was "quite clear."

"The Federal (national) government basically retains the taxation power, except for selected taxes and fees the collection of which will be transferred to the regional governments," Generoso said in a statement. 

He added that the federal government and regional governments will have a 50-50 share of the collections from the top-four sources of revenues. 

"The budgets allotted for debt service, national defense, foreign affairs are untouched and remain intact with the federal government under the draft charter." 

Generoso also said that the federal government will provide funds for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas if it needs additional capital. 

Last month, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia was also quoted in cable news channel One News warning of the possible damage the shift to federalism could inflict on the country’s fiscal position.

Malacañang, however, countered Pernia and insisted that federalism would not adversely affect the economy.