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On 22, February 2018, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Officials, employees of the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS), and  representatives from the DOLE bureaus, attached agencies and services, including union leaders gathered for the  iGov Talks forum titled, Federal Philippines: Concepts, Issues and Policy Implications at the iLearn Conference Room, DOLE Building, Intramuros, Manila.

iGov Talks is a yearly forum organized by ILS to tackle key issues on good governance.

“The Institute has been hosting the iGov Talks as an annual advocacy event on practices, models and experiences that demonstrate what is best in public office. Along with the Institute’s aim of instilling pride in nation-building work, it promotes and encourages ethical behavior in government resulting to an honest, efficient, transparent and accountable governance. For this topic on federalism, broadbased and equitable public participation and engagement is a must,” emphasized  Acting Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba in her welcome remarks.

During the morning session, Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya, spokesperson for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).  of Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform, discussed the “Emerging Model of Philippine Federalism” with semi-presidential federal system of government as model.

He explained several packages of reforms to make federalism succeed, such as the following: a) make the anti-dynasty provision in the Constitution self-executing; b) support the development of strong and cohesive political parties by penalizing political butterflies; c) provide budget support to political parties just like in mature democracy, d) institute a system of proportional representation, e) raise the requirements for presidential candidates; f) strengthen the powers of the COMELEC, CSC, COA, Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan and ensure their strong presence in the region.

In the afternoon, Dr. Ronald Umali Mendoza, dean of Ateneo School of Government, delved deeply on his topic titled, “Fixing Philippine Public Finance; Is Federalism the Answer?” Among the sub-topics that he discussed includes: a) Rationale of decentralization, b) Is Imperial Manila a Problem, c) Inequity in Human Development, d) Inequity in Life Expectancy, Imbalanced in Local Government Finance, e)Towards Political Landscape and f) Political Dynasty Leads to Deeper Poverty.

He concluded his presentation by emphasizing the findings from his research that showed the causality between political dynasties and the poverty in the country, causing greater poverty, notably outside Metro Manila.

In attendance were DOLE Senior Officials Asec. Mariano Alquiza, Asec. Federico  Abuan, Dir. Adeline T. De Castro of Planning Service (PS), Dir. Violeta Munoz Human Resource Development Service (HRDS), Dir. Warren of Financial and Management Service (FMS) Exec. Dir. Ma. Criselda Sy of National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), OIC Chief Alice Q. Visperas of International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) , and ILS tripartite partners including representatives from labor organizations such as  Philippine Government Employees' Association (PGEA), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) (including former DOLE Sec. Ruben Torres), and Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

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