TACLOBAN CITY – Poor regions like Eastern Visayas will greatly benefit if the country shift to federal form of government as an equalization fund will be created, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr said.
Pimentel, who was in the city Friday (Sept. 15) for a forum on federalism, said the fund is patterned after World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The financial institution will provide loans to poor areas for development project, the former senator said.
He said the equalization fund, administered by the federal government and to be handled by central government will be made available to economically-depressed states.
“Resources for this equalization fund will come from the central government and the more developed states. All federal states will be represented in managing the fund,” Pimentel said.
Under Pimentel’s proposal, the new form of government will have 12 federal states – five in Luzon, four in Visayas, and three in Mindanao.
Metro Manila will be converted into a federal administrative region.
These states are Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, and Cordillera for Luzon; Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Mimaropa, covering Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental, Palawan and the Kalayaan Islands, Romblon, Marinduque for Visayas; Northwestern and Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Bangsamoro for Mindanao.
Cordillera was added to the list of proposed state after Pimentel recently held a forum in Baguio City.
“We are not copying any model from other countries. We will only pick the good features and come up with something that is suitable for the Philippines,” Pimentel added.
Pimentel proposed that federal states get to use 80 percent of their revenues and remit only 20 percent to the central government.
When it comes to government administrators, every federal state shall be represented by six senators, who are elected by registered voters in a nationwide free election.
Aside from a total of 77 senators from the country’s 12 states, there will also be six senators that shall represent Metro Manila and nine overseas senators.
In addition, every federal state will have its own set of departments which are counterpart of the current government’s national departments.
“During the first two to three years of the Duterte administration is the adoption of federal system. The next three years is transition period towards the adoption of federal system,” he explained.