Outgoing Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who is returning to the Senate for a third term, wrongly claimed that the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is one of the two poorest regions in the Philippines.
During his three-year term as governor, Escudero said he “discovered” that the national government interfered “too much” in the affairs of local government units (LGUs) as provided under the 1987 Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991:
“May mga nagsusulong ng pederalismo sa ating bansa, samantala ang awtonomiya ni hindi pa nga lubusang naibibigay talaga sa mga lokal na pamahalaan. (There are people pushing for federalism in the country when local governments have not even been given full autonomy).
Question: … Is this enough for you to actually push for federalism or that’s jumping way ahead?
Escudero: That’s jumping way, way ahead … l’ll try to answer briefly without being, say, that I’m opposed to it. Our closest experiment to federalism is CAR — Cordillera [Administrative] Region and BARMM [Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao]. These are the two autonomous regions found in our Constitution. Cordillera hasn’t even been implemented yet. It lost in two or three plebiscites. BARMM, up to last term, we were still trying to perfect it. If we haven’t even perfected autonomy or the closest to federalism in these two regions, [which] remain to be the poorest regions in our country, why will we experiment on it in all of the regions of the country?”Source: ABS-CBN News official YouTube channel, Dateline Philippines | ANC (6 June 2022), June 6, 2022, watch from 21:56 to 22:55
Escudero said a “lot of work” still needs to be done before a proposal for federalism in the country is considered.
Contrary to Escudero’s claim, the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that CAR is the third region with the lowest estimates of poverty incidence among Filipino families.
Read the full story on VERA Files Fact Check.