MANILA, Philippines – Following the opposition of lawmakers to its proposed Regional Development Authority (RDA), the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform (IATF) removed the creation of the unit from its proposed amendments to the 1987 constitution.
During the House committee on constitutional amendments hearing on Wednesday, February 12, the IATF said that the dropping of the proposed RDA was in response to concerns by the House panel and local government units (LGUs) that this would become a new political unit. There was also concern that the proposed RDA would take away resources allocated to LGUs.
Interior Undersecretary and IATF chairman Jonathan Malaya clarified that the proposed RDA would merely replace the Regional Development Council (RDC), which is the current regional policy-making body. The RDA would also retain the composition of the RDC, Malaya said.
The House panel was concerned that the creation of a RDA could cause possible conflicts in terms of project implementation and among members of the new unit.
As for, LGUs feared that the RDA may "lessen the revenue share" of LGUs.
The IATF's initial proposed amendment would allow the RDA to have powers and funds to implement projects and programs at the regional level, without approval from the national government.
The IATF revised proposal retained the RDC. This would be composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments and other government offices, and representatives from non-governmental organizations.
The RDC would then be allowed to formulate, implement, and monitor regional development plans and programs, and would have funds allocated by Congress.
Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative and committee char Rufus Rodriguez said that the committee is set to vote on each of the IATF's proposed amendments on February 19, also reviewing the recalled resolution amending parts of the constitution. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.