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How much will federalism cost? DILG reconciling figures

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By Prince Golez

The government is still in the process of reconciling the costs needed for the transition of the government to federalism, according to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“The process has begun to reconcile all those figures and since regular naman ang ating briefing we’ll give updates every now and then kung ano na ang nangyayari sa paguusap between ConCom (Consultative Committee), the DILG and the economic management team,” DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a briefing on Friday.

Gary Olivar, fellow of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan Federalism Institute, echoed Malaya’s statement, saying that the incremental cost of federalism needs “a lot” of reconciliation.

“Even within our side there are differences in the numbers e. Kasi this is an evolving process. And naturally, the evolution at this point now has to include technical reconciliation with people who do not support federalism,” Olivar said.

“Halimbawa, ang number na binatayan ni (Professor Edmund) Tayao for transition cost is something like P13 billion plus. At dinagdag naman ni Asec. Malaya is something like P20 billion. Pagkatapos po, pumasok po ang aking files, may nakita akong lumang study ng LOGODEF na kinabibilangan ni Dr. Avila, the estimate is P35 billion, pero ‘yun po is a very rough estimate kasi po ginawa lang po nila kung ano ang budget ng (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) inadjust nila for the other reasons to come up with a very, very rough estimate. So, 35 is very rough. Hindi naman po siguro pwede na ang maging model natin eh ‘yung nangyari sa ARMM,” he added.

Dr. Tony Avila, member of the Federalism Study Group, said the difference in the federalism cost is with the assumption.

“When you look at the figures please look at the assumptions, kasi depende sa assumptions po ‘yun. It is because different assumptions kaya nag-iba-iba ang mga estimates,” said Avila, also fiscal decentralization expert.