MANILA—Liberal Party (LP) standard- bearer Mar Roxas said on Monday that federalism is not the way to improving Mindanao, stressing that it would just be “another layer of taxes.”
“Federalism is another way of saying ‘we want more resources.’ If you want more taxes, then you would choose federalism,” Roxas said in an ambush interview while visiting vendors and residents in Manila’s Divisoria business district.
He said that those who are pushing for federalism do not appreciate the present system where additional government resources have been distributed directly to the people, most especially in Mindanao.
The administration candidate said data have shown that Php260 billion worth of infrastructure projects have been provided in Mindanao for the past five years—twice more than the during the terms of former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada combined at Php125 billion.
“But do we still have a lot of catching up to do? Yes, we do! But federalism is not the answer. It’s just another layer of taxes,” Roxas said.
He pointed out that in all federal states—from the United States to Malaysia—there are separate taxes for federal income tax and state income tax.
“In our unitary system of taxation, there is only one type of income tax. Ngayon, ang kagandahan sa sistema natin, sa ngayon, di ninanakaw ang pera, buong-buo, buong-buo din, walang kaltas, walang kupit, walang kickback, bumabalik din ang pera sa local,” Roxas said.
“We also have the bottom-up budgeting (BuB), wherein if we are elected, would be instituted as BuB+ in all barangays, in all municipalities of the Philippines,” he said.
In BuB+, he said that all 42,000 barangays in the 1,490 municipalities of the country would have “developmental money.”
“If elected, lahat yan (barangays) may pinupukpok, may nilalagari, may itinatayo, may ginagawa, may tinatrabaho na kabutihan o kaginhawahan para sa ating mga kababayan. Uusbong ang Pilipinas, talagang aarangkada tayo. So isa yan sa mga paraan para lalong gumanda hindi lang yung ekonomiyang pang-nasyunal kundi pati ang pang-lokal na ang katumbas niyan ay pera sa bulsa ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino,” Roxas said.