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Federalism will only create economic imbalance among regions – Alejano

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano cautioned the Duterte administration that proposed shift to federalism will only create economic imbalance among future federal regions.

Alejano said only few regions are capable of sustaining their operations without support from the national government through the internal revenue allotment (IRA).

“There is much imbalance when it comes to economic status and availability of wealth and resources among regions in the country. Magiging kawawa ang ibang rehiyon na hindi pa maunlad ang ekonomiya,” said Alejano.

Alejano cited Davao Region (Region 11) as an example, in which, the bailwick of both President Rodrigo Duterte and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez region contributes only one percent to the total collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and yet gets almost five percent in return in the form of IRA.

“Saan nila kukunin ang remaining four percent deficit considering that regions still have to contribute to national services like defense, foreign relations, debt servicing, etc. in the federal set-up? This is not to mention the expenses to be incurred in setting up a federal state government like in personal services, MOOE, capital outlay and others.,” said Alejano

Alejano stressed that it’s a wrong perception that “Imperial Manila” is taking the lion share of the wealth of the country and other regions are left with crumbs​.​

He explained that the National Capital Region (NCR) regularly contributed between 82 to 84 percent to total BIR collections but gets back only around six percent.

“The remaining 76 to 78 percent of its contribution is given to all other regions in the form of IRA,” said Alejano.

The former rebel soldier added that federalism will not work present since most of the regions in the country spend resources much more than what they can raise locally.

“We need to capacitate them first politically and economically for them to be self-reliant. And it will take years,” said Alejano.