Diokno: ''We are miles away from federalism''
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno expressed reservation on the draft new constitution prepared by the consultative committee that would pave the way for a shift to a federal form of government.
Diokno is President Rodrigo Duterte's third economic manager who expressed concern over federalism based on the draft prepared by the Concom.
"I think this is my personal view, we are miles away from federalism. Let's not talk about the fiscal nightmare. Well, because the current draft that I've seen and I'm not sure if it would be adopted by both Houses of Congress, has so many issues. It's not clear on who's gonna pay for the national debt. Is it national, local, is it shared responsibility?" he said in his regular forum in Manila.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez were the first two members of the economic team who were lukewarm about federalism.
The 22-man Concom, which President Rodrigo Duterte created, has completed the draft constitution, which was submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives for their consideration.
Pernia earlier said the country was not yet ready for federalism, while Dominguez, in a Senate hearing on Tuesday, said the draft federal constitution could lead to a fiscal nightmare.
Dominguez has said in the draft charter, he did not see who would shoulder the national debt and the pension for the military, among others.
The Duterte administration has been pushing for a shift of government from unilateral to federal.
A massive information campaign about federalism will be launched. Celerina Monte/DMS