Senate panel to probe economic impact of federalism shift


Posted at Aug 12 2018 09:33 PM | Updated as of Aug 12 2018 09:34 PM

MANILA -- The Senate Committee on Economic Affairs will investigate the economic impact of the proposed shift to federalism, its committee chair Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Saturday.

In a statement, Gatchalian said the panel will look into the differing opinions of government economic managers, consultative committee, and Malacañang on the issue.

"In view of these conflicting claims, the Senate must be given an opportunity to evaluate the economic implications of the proposed shift to a federal system of government,” Gatchalian said.

Business groups earlier joined the call of economic managers for lawmakers to examine the costs and risks of federalism. 

"We worry about the dire consequences that such fiscal imbalance could have on the economy and the flagship Build Build Build program of the current administration," they said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez last week said he would "absolutely" vote against the draft federal charter because it did not address important issues about the economy and could not be subjected to financial analysis. 

However, he said he is open to dialogue about the draft charter. 

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

ConCom member Fr. Ranhilio Aquino called on President Rodrigo Duterte to "sack Dominguez and Pernia or command them to keep their traps shut" after their comments on federalism. 

Federalism remains a priority, according to Malacañang.