Yesterday’s hearing raised a lot of difficult questions needing urgent clarification. Among those questions that need clear answers from the Consultative Committee refer to cost and funding: How much is the creation of a federal government going to cost the Filipino people? How is it to be funded?
About P55 billion is needed for salaries of new federal state elected officials, according to Dr. Rosario Manasan of PIDS. And the amount does not include the cost of new infrastructure.
The committee’s response is: There are already existing regional offices of national agencies. With P55 billion comprising half the tax take from TRAIN 1, what is clear so far is that federalism means more taxes or more borrowings or both.
These concerns prove that we cannot rush Cha-cha. Doing so is like careening off the cliff to political and economic limbo. If we wish to avoid political and economic disaster, we should not rush Charter change.