The Fiscal Viability Study aims to analyze the resource-generating capacity of an autonomous Cordillera vis-à-vis its expenditure requirements. Consultant Mr. Peñas presents his proposed plan on accomplishing the objectives of said study to a Technical Working Group composed of the NEDA-CAR and DBM-CAR.

February 1, 2018 – The first technical session for the study Estimating the Fiscal Viability of Establishing an Autonomous Region of the Cordilleras (ARC) was conducted on February 1, 2018 at the RDC Hall, NEDA-CAR Compound, Baguio City, with the consultant, Mr. Joseph Laurence Peñas, and the Technical Working Group composed of technical staff from the NEDA-CAR and DBM-CAR.

The study aims to estimate the fiscal requirements in operating an autonomous region in the Cordillera and its revenue generating capacity in anticipation of the current administrative region becoming autonomous as mandated by Article X, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Mr. Peñas presented his action plan to accomplish the objective of study, which also included the methodology to be utilized. The general approach, which is divided into quantitative and qualitative aspects, will be to identify the underlying revenues and expenditures in operating an autonomous regional government in the Cordillera. The bases for his analysis will be the House Bill 5343 “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera” and select provisions of the Regional Development Plan (RDIP) 2017-2022 and the Regional Development Investment Program (RDIP) 2017-2022.

The quantitative aspect will involve projecting a ten-year forecast of revenues and expenditures. If initial computations indicate revenue shortage, Mr. Peñas will explore and utilize other domestic financing sources that are not provided in the HB 5343, RDP 2017-2022 or the RDIP 2017-2022.

The qualitative analysis, meanwhile, will focus on policy recommendations to improve the fiscal viability of an autonomous Cordillera. Major regional stakeholders will be consulted for their inputs and recommendations to the study.

A research dissemination forum is slated on April 19, 2018, during which the consultant will present the findings of the study to regional stakeholders, which will include representatives from the local government units (LGUs), regional line agencies (RLAs), civils society organizations (CSOs) and the academe, among others.

The study, which is funded by the NEDA Research and Development Fund, is expected to be completed by May this year.(Jared Jeric B. dela Cruz, NEDA- SPCAR)