COST variables for the shift to a federal form of government are reported as follows. Estimates made by the Consultative Committee which drafted the federalist charter put it at P13.29B with 12 additional senators from the present 24, plus 108 more members from the current House of Representatives (HR), etc. under 18 Federated Regions, excluding a single Bangsamoro Federal State. Salaries, office expenses, consultants, etc. aside, what about the price tag of P200M pork barrel for each senator? In the HR, the stirring reality of deputy speakers, previously exposed by Senator Panfilo Lacson, gratuitously granted P1.8B, and P900M each for favored congressmen for respective pet projects? Does the estimated amount factor, as well, the increase in the number of Supreme Courts from one to four? SC Justices from 15 to 48? With the creation of three more high courts: Federal Electoral Court, Federal Constitutional Court, and Federal Administrative Court?
Figures by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) quote a boggling P131B-P253B matriculation to current cost of operating the government. “Fiscal pressures…unquantifiable costs…difficult to ascertain whether or not a federal structure will work in the Philippines”, NEDA reported.
Rosario Manasan, a Senior Research Fellow of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies presented a P44B-P72B outlay, separate from the budget for holding a plebiscite for the new constitution.
Some quick points. In a federal system, will previously established jurisprudence by the Supreme Court be overturned? Open to revision? Under said structure, is there a costly “learning curve” in tutoring government and people in administering federal and state relations? What about the political promise of a second Bangsamoro Regional State for Sulu? What of Sabah?