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Con-com proposes Federal gov’t powers over basic education, trade, banking

/ 02:14 PM July 02, 2018

More powers were given to the Federal Government under the proposed federal Constitution of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Committee (Con-com), Spokesperson Ding Generoso said on Monday.

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In a press conference, Generoso tackled Con-com’s proposed design and political structure of and powers given to the Federal Government, or the central national government, and the 18 Federated Regions.

The Federal Government, he said, shall have exclusive powers over the following:

  • Defense, security of land, sea and air territory;
  • Foreign affairs;
  • International trade;
  • Customs and tariffs;
  • Citizenship, immigration and naturalization;
  • National socio-economic planning;
  • Monetary policy and federal fiscal policy, banking, currency;
  • Competition and competition regulation bodies;
  • Inter-regional infrastructure and public utilities , including telecommunications and broadband networks;
  • Postal service;
  • Time regulation and protection of human rights;
  • Basic education;
  • Science and technology;
  • Regulation and licensing of professions;
  • Social security benefits;
  • Federal crimes and justice system;
  • Law and order;
  • Civil, family, property and commercial laws except as may be otherwise provided for in the constitution;
  • Prosecution of graft and corruption cases;
  • Intellectual property, and
  • Elections.

Meanwhile, the Federated Regions’ regional government shall have the following exclusive power within their territory:

  • socio-economic development planning
  • Creation of sources revenue
  • Financial administration and management;
  • Tourism, investment, and trade development;
  • Infrastructure, public utilities and public works;
  • Economic zones;
  • Land use and housing;
  • Justice system;
  • Local government units;
  • Business permits and licenses;
  • Municipal waters;
  • Indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare;
  • Culture and language development;
  • Sports development; and
  • Parks and recreation.

Those powers that are not defined or are reserved, would be automatically given to the Federal Government.

Generoso explained that the 18 Federated Regions will be composed of 16 symmetrical regions:

  • 15 existing regions[
  • the Negrosanon Federated Region (which includes the province of Siquijor, among others), and
  • two asymmetrical regions (the Bangsamoro and the Cordillera).

Generoso said this setup was made because the Bangsamoro and Cordillera regions have “identity-based demands that have to be met.”

They will have additional powers and will have different structure which will be defined later on by the committee.

Structure

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The Federated Regions would be composed of the executive branch and the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA).

Each region would be led by a regional governor and a regional deputy governor. Both posts will be elected by the RLA, instead of being voted directly by the people.

Generoso said the Federated Regions was structured this way to “prevent a big province from monopolizing political power in the region” solely because of its high number of voting population.

“We always look at equalizing power, it is leveling the playing field, and to prevent undue advantage for certain individuals or provinces,” he added

Half of the RLA meanwhile, will be composed of representatives from the provinces, highly urbanized or independent chartered cities. The other half will be composed of a proportional party representation elected region-wide.

The registered voters in the specific regions will elect the said representatives. The said officials will have a four-year term, subject to one re-election.

Meanwhile, Generoso said there was no decision made on wether or not Metro Manila would be considered as the federal capital.

He added that the specific names of each Federated Regions, as well as its exact compositions, will be appended to the final draft of the federal Constitution as an ordinance.

Generoso, meanwhile, stressed that federalism is “not about devolution, delegation or decentralization of powers” but is about the distribution of powers.

“It is about non-centralization powers. It is about the balancing of powers between the Federal Government and the constituent political units of the Federal Republic or the Federated Regions,” he said.

The Con-com en banc is set to vote on its entire draft of the Charter on Tuesday morning, Generoso said.

Copies of the final draft will then be submitted to the President on or before July 9. This will be followed by regional presentations and consultations, findings of which will form part of the final committee report.   /vvp

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