Experts tackle federalism, decentralization during policy research month

The Duterte Administration has been very vocal about pushing for federalism as a way to decentralize power in Metro Manila and to address poverty in the regions, but is it the right approach?
This is one of the main topics in this year’s 15th Development Policy Research Month (DPRM), an annual nationwide celebration held every September to promote awareness of the importance of policy research in the formulation of development policies, programs, and projects.
In view of the ongoing discourse on federalism, the theme for this year is “Strengthening Decentralization for Regional Development” or “Pagpapatibay ng Desentralisasyon Tungo sa Kaunlarang Panrehiyon”. It highlights the need for in-depth reflections and evidence-based analyses not just on federalism but encompassing the bigger umbrella of decentralization reforms.
Series of activities
A series of activities for the DPRM is spearheaded by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) to provide avenues for more inclusive and critical discourse on decentralization reforms.
“Through the DPRM month-long celebration, we wish to emphasize to our policymakers the importance of critical thinking based on thorough evaluations and studies in the formulation of appropriate policy interventions for the development of our regions,” said PIDS President Gilberto Llanto.
To herald the start of the nationwide celebration, PIDS, in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), will hold a press conference on September 5, from 10:30AM to 1:00PM at the PIA office in Quezon City.  PIDS is joined by other government agencies notably the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Finance-Bureau of Local Government Finance, the Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority.
A series of press conferences will also take place in the cities of Zamboanga, Legazpi, Cebu, and Baguio to spread awareness of the DPRM theme and its key message in the regions. These are arranged in partnership with the PIA central and regional offices.
The press conference in Zamboanga is part of another DPRM activity, the 3rd Mindanao Policy Research Forum, which will be held in Ateneo de Zamboanga on September 7.  Members of the academe, government, and civil society will convene to enhance understanding of and discuss issues surrounding federalism and decentralization. Fiscal and governance expert and PIDS Senior Research Fellow Rosario Manasan will present the findings of her study on the fiscal impacts of shifting to a federal form of government.  The policy forum is organized by PIDS, Mindanao Development Authority, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University.
On top of these DPRM events is the Annual Public Policy Conference happening on September 19, 2017 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas.  As the main event of the DPRM, the conference, which carries the theme “Critical Perspectives on Federalism for Regional Development”, will gather the country’s most prominent scholars of public finance, governance, political science, and public administration to share their perspectives on federalism and decentralization reforms for regional development.
“We hope to provide our policymakers with inputs for crafting evidence-based legislation on federalism and decentralization reforms,” Llanto explained.
Government agencies are encouraged to participate in the DPRM celebration by displaying any of the two versions (English and Filipino) of the DPRM banner within the premises of their offices, featuring DPRM announcements in their dissemination outlets, or organizing activities or events related to the theme or to policy research. ###