The shift to federalism shall remain a gratuitous soundbite so long as most local government units (LGUs) are destitute of fiscal autonomy.
I am open to discuss federalism, which needs charter change, but the time for its adoption has not come considering the various adverse economic factors that currently pummel the economy.
Moreover, only four regions presently have the capacity to operate in a federal system, namely: Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Metro Cebu.
Federalism will waylay the development and progress of the other regions.
Any talk on federalism must first be geared towards the full implementation of the Garcia-Mandanas Supreme Court ruling which granted LGUs their belated rightful share in customs and tariff revenues.
Unfortunately, Executive Order No. 138 of former President Rodrigo Duterte sequestered the bonanza to LGUs by mandating that devolved services like the construction of irrigation systems and school buildings must be funded from the LGUs’ additional revenues, many of which do not have the capacity and funds to undertake the devolved projects and programs.
It is well that President Marcos partially suspended the implementation of EO 138, but more than a temporary suspension, it must be repealed or abrogated to afford the LGUs the full discretion on the utilization of their funds consistent with the allocation ratio provided for in the Local Government Code.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN