Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said this is what he said during the meeting between members of the Economic Development Cluster and some members of the Consultative Committee that ended Thursday night.
“Basically, we said, you know we need more clarity that’s all. The document that was produced lacks clarity on these specific issues and we outlined a lot of questions,” he told reporters in a briefing.
He was referring to the draft Federal Constitution made by the Charter Change Consultative Committee formed to study the proposed change in government.
The Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary explained they are not against Federalism but stressed the need to be clear on financial aspects which necessarily accompany the proposed shift.
During the meeting, officials of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) presented two scenarios on how the shift in government will increase government expenses.
Documents obtained by journalists show that total expenditures may increase by as much as PHP243.502 billion.
This will surely exceed the budget gap to three percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Dominguez said. “But again that is an estimate because we don’t know what is in their mind about the split of expenses,” he said.
For his part, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno, in an interview by reporters, said there is really a need for scenario building to check on expenses.
He countered allegations that federalism will result to higher spending, citing that this depends on your programs and budgeting.
He said the government can control its deficit but this will impact on the programs. “To me that’s the overriding constraints -- fiscal responsibility,” he said.
Diokno said a change in the 1987 Constitution is really needed because it is already outdated but stressed that need for this to be carefully studied.