ConCom member’s concerns part of discourse on federalism

MANILA MalacaAang on Friday welcomed the concerns expressed by Consultative Committee (ConCom) member Fr. Ranhilio Aquino as part of the continuing discourse on federalism.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after Aquino, dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to fire his economic team members, Carlos Dominguez and Ernesto Pernia, for speaking loudly against the ConCom's draft federal constitution.

We welcome the concerns of Fr. Ranhilio Aquino as a member of the ConCom and acknowledge his passion and hard work in contributing to the drafting of the federal charter, Roque said in a statement.

Dominguez, secretary of the Department of Finance, reportedly said in a Senate hearing that there are a lot of issues that need to be worked out like which entity would pay for the national debt and spend for the military.

The finance chief, however, said it is good that it is being discussed publicly right now because that's just one of the issues that we see from the fiscal point of view.

Meanwhile, Pernia has expressed concerns about the possible disruption of infrastructure development in the regions.

At least more than 70 big ticket projects are up for construction under the Duterte administration's Build, Build, Build program.

Pernia also raised the issue of fiscal deficit, which he said could increase to 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) under a federal form of government.

We view the differences of opinion on federalism as part of the continuing discourse, even among members of the President's official family, which the Chief Executive encourages to thresh out possible contentious issues, Roque said.

The President, as we all know, has long been an advocate of federalism and his policy has always been one of inclusive participation of various groups and sectors, he added.

In a radio interview on Friday, Roque said he believes Dominguez is in favor of federalism.

Roque said Dominguez was just raising questions about the draft of the constitution that the ConCom has submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Pero dapat pagusapan siguro ng lahat kung paano nga makakarating patungo sa pederalismo (But maybe everyone should discuss how we can move forward to federalism), Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency