Press Release
August 19, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said the overarching problem of a highly centralized government stifles the creativity of the local leaders, missing the opportunity to make the countryside bloom and local initiative and enterprise thrive.

Angara also said that highly centralized government continues to create unhealthy relationship between the center and the provinces.

Sure we now give the LGUs 45 percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment, but autonomy to the local government means more than money, Angara stressed.

Angara said that autonomy meant opportunity for the local residents and localities to create their own sources of revenue by way of attracting tourists and investments in their respective provinces.

Autonomy ensures them freedom to utilize their own localities strengths. By doing so, we encourage economic growth, fuel business development and create employment opportunities, he said.

Angara said the present form of a highly centralized, highly bureaucratic government hampers development. Its structure was introduced by the Philippine Bill of 1902 to replace military rule, and was an attempt to install a civilian government, one that was especially designed to control an archipelago.

Our government structure is a remnant of our colonial past. Seventy-one years after we first adopted the Philippine Constitution, we still have the same administrative setup, the same kind of almost feudalistic system, Angara said.

He also stressed that Metro Manila has hand and control over the provinces in terms of economic growth and development.

For instance, when a mayor from a far-flung municipality wants to go to Taiwan, or Hong Kong to secure investments, or even tout his regions tourism potential, he has to seek first the necessary permission from the Secretary of Local Government and Malacanang, Angara said.

In Spain, however, after the death of Franco, the Spanish government gave genuine autonomy to each of its provinces. Genuine meant enabling local leaders to discover their local Spanish creativity and maximize their own available resources, he continued.

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