Alvarez: Federalism can make poor regions rich

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HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said poor regions can become rich under a federal form of government because they can use their own natural resources to their economic advantage.

Alvarez cited as example the Bicol region, which he said can offer lower power rates through their geothermal energy resources.

“Now, you can imagine in under a federal setup, yung geothermal power na pino-produce nila, magiging strategic advantage nila yon over the other states. Pwede silang mag-offer na napakababang electricity sa lahat ng gumagamit don sa kanilang region, sa kanilang state. At syempre, pagkaganon, maraming mga industries na lilipat doon, maglo-locate doon sa region nila dahil mababa ang kuryente. Now you create economic activities, now you create jobs, now you generate business, now you create opportunities, now they can chart their own destiny, yun ang kagandahan doon.”

Alvarez said Region 8 can offer lower power rates as it will no longer need to first deliver electricity generated by its geothermal fields to the National Capital Region before it is distributed locally. He said such process increases the cost of electricity due to systems loss incurred during delivery to the NCR and back to the region.

Alvarez also said states under a federal Philippines can make their own economic policies to attract investors to locate in their region.

The Speaker mentioned other federal mechanisms that would help poor regions develop.

“Yung mga regions na talagang mahirap, pwede nating isama sa region na mayaman, di ba, para kaya silang buhatin ng region na yon,” said Alvarez.

“All the other regions, halimbawa Davao region, mayaman yan, pwede mong isama yan sa Caraga na mahirap na region. Halimbawa, yung Region 8, mahirap yan, pwede mo ring isama sa Region 7, Cebu, kasi mayaman yung Region 7. Tulungan lang,” said Alvarez.

“Ngayon, yun namang halimbawa, magkaroon ng Bangsamoro state, halimbawa hindi nila kaya, pwede namang special fund, na ibibigay ng national government,” Alvarez said.

The Speaker said the special fund is similar to that of Malaysia’s so-called special equalization fund that is used to help underdeveloped states to economically recover. rw: wjg

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