Devolution and regional disparities in the Philippines: is there a connection?
The 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines brought about a far-reaching transfer of authority and resources to its local governments. Despite bringing benefits to the nation as a whole, and to the individual local governments, devolution has also had some negative consequences. Although regional disparities were present in the country prior to devolution, their recent rise has coincided with the implementation of devolution. Regional disparities are analyzed in relation to general macroeconomic policies and trends, such as industrial policy and increased trade, and particular socioeconomic features of the Philippines, such as the significance of investments and migration. These policies and trends, coupled with faulty transfer systems and differing levels of efficiency and capacity, suggest that devolution is hampering the pursuit of regional equity. Hence it is concluded that, although many factors are resonsible for the spatial inequities, devolution in its present form plays a direct and interactive part in preserving and/or promoting regional disparities in the country.