By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, September 2 2018; Business World


Image Credit to Business Mirror

AN ECONOMIC MANAGER said the draft federal constitution submitted by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to Review the 1987 Constitution may “not yet (be) ripe,” as he proposed such changes as removing term limits and streamlining the federated regions.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno described the draft federal charter as “hindi pa hinog” and “unclear.”

He said now that Congress has the draft, it should consider removing term limits in the draft federal charter for some government posts to address longstanding political dynasties.

“To me, under the new constitution, tatanggalin ko yung (I would remove) term limit, except for the president and vice-president. Because the term limit, it creates a lot of dynasty,” Mr. Diokno told reporters on Thursday.

Kasi pinoprogram mo na ‘yung asawa ‘yung tatakbo, ‘yung anak mo. So bata pa anak mo pinapatakbo mo na sa barangay,” Mr. Diokno said. (Because you are programming your wife to run, [or] your child. So your child is still young, you have him run in the barangay.)

He added: “If you are the only politically inclined with the family, wala naman masama if 50 years ka nasa politika (there’s nothing wrong if you’ve been in politics for 50 years)…so you don’t develop a whole clan.”

Mr. Diokno said the idea is possible in conjunction with an electoral system prone to corruption.

“It’s the people you elect. You have to improve the electoral system. And to me the most ideal electoral system is ‘yung di ka na aalis ng bahay mo (you don’t have to leave your house0. Kasi walang (Because there’s no) intimidation.”

“We really need to amend our Constitution. It’s really outdated,” he said, but added, “That’s not for me. That’s for the policymakers.”

Mr. Diokno also said the added layer of bureaucracy in the federated regions should be streamlined.

“They talk of another layer of bureaucracy. That means it’s expensive. You have state governors and provincial governors,” he said.

“And they replicated the existing regions. There are regions that can be consolidated. That’s more efficient. It should really be based on socioeconomic and political consideration, economies of scale. It could be 10, 12, less than 18,” he added.

He also said Congress should liberalize sectors for foreign investment such as education, mass media, and land ownership, among others.

The economic managers and the consultative committee met last week to clarify their different interpretations and assumptions of the draft federal charter, especially on the revenues and expenditures, where the National Economic and Development Authority estimated a transition cost of P156.6 billion to P243.5 billion, and P13 billion for the consultative committee.

Both agreed that the fiscal deficit cap of 3% of gross domestic product should be followed to maintain the country’s investment grade ratings of the country, but the ball is now in Congress to iron out the draft.