On March 21, 2019, Prof. Edmund Tayao, LOGODEF Executive Director, discussed with the Executive Committee of the Local Government Academy in Makati City the implications of federalism under the Constitutional Committee draft on the LGA.
The discussion was started with Prof. Tayao providing a background on inter-governmental relations. According to Prof. Tayao, inter-governmental relations under a unitary set-up cannot veer away from any hierarchical practice. The idea of subsidiarity as it is done on a federal setup is that the fringes are empowered so that it can live on its own, not necessarily detached from the center. Prof. Tayao observed that the problem with the current situation that the kind of autonomy that the country has still tends to centralize – supported by the fact that the president in the country’s national context is a very powerful figure.
Prof. Tayao said that every step of the administration reform is political. He noted that Administrative reform as is (1) inherently political, and (2) a difficult process because there are already existing structures and thus, existing employees that will be affected. What is not anticipated is the different nature of the capacity building to that of supervision. He observed that under the Philippine context, the orientation of agencies change along with every change of presidents; it is when this situation is compared with other countries, the difference becomes apparent.
With regards to the role of LGA under the proposed federal set-up on the ConCom, Prof. Tayao made the recommendation that the LGA’s presence in the regions should be reinforced, allowing a seamless flow of programs to be implemented in the regions, which should then follow the natural contour of the country.
After Prof. Tayao’s discussion, Director Thelma Vecina of the LGA responded that they will have the LGA Executive Committee do further studies on the topic. She expressed her interest in fully understanding the LGAs relationship with DAP – of the functions that they can share or retain as individual bodies.