Regional Commissions

We must not lose sight of the main objective of the shift to a Federal form of Government!

Immediately after the Holy Week, we had an opportunity to advocate our official position on the proposed shift to a Federal form of government with some members of the Consultative Committee. Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas hosted the meeting 2 days prior to the start of the deliberations of the said Committee held this morning in PICC where Article X on Local Governments was tackled.

Local officials argue that adding another layer of bureaucracy in the Constitution through the creation of Regional States will not only be costly but will also result in the duplication of powers and functions already devolved to provinces and cities.

Empowering Regional Governors will not solve the problem on political dynasties since it will merely shift to the Regional level where bigger and richer provinces and highly-urbanized cities will surely have an upper hand in dominating it and controlling the smaller LGUs. We must not lose sight of the main objective of the shift to a Federal form of Government which is to shift power from the central to the LGUs and ensure that more resources are provided to them as they have a better vantage point with direct accountability to the people they serve.

We felt a sigh of relief when Prof. Ed Tayao and other members of the Consultative Committee assured us during the LPP meeting that the Committee is now inclined to adopt the LGUs’ clamor for a hybrid or asymmetric type of federalism that will be the least disruptive move that will pave the way for prioritizing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to resolve the peace and order situation in Mindanao.

During the transition, instead of abruptly creating Regional States, they will push for Regional Commissions which will be an enhanced version of the existing Regional Development Councils or RDCs which will be tasked to plan for an integrated approach to ensure the local development of their constituent units or LGUs consistent with the principle of subsidiarity.

Gov. Mandanas proposed to allow the LGUs to take the initiative to group themselves together. The Consultative Committee members present during the meeting concurs that the “evolution” of these mergers will eventually be achieved within at least 3 to 5 years and that the mechanism to formalize these amalgamations subject to the approval of the people through a plebiscite will be provided for in the Federal Constitution consistent with the principle of a genuine local autonomy.

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About the Author
Sandra Tablan Paredes is presently the Executive Director of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) since October, 2016 although she previously served LPP as Director from 1997 to 2004 Sandy helped organize ULAP in 1998 with former Governor Joey Lina and advocated for the LGUs' rightful IRA share, among other league advocacies, programs and projects to help local officials ensure local and fiscal autonomy and good governance. Recently served as concurrent interim Executive Director of ULAP from Jan-March 31, 2017. You can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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