A measure that seeks to hold the barangay, youth council and constitutional convention (Con-Con) delegate elections in February 2017 has been filed in the House of Representatives.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte made the pitch in House Bills 1290 and 1241, respectively, in congruence with House Resolution No. 1 filed by presumptive Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, which seeks to amend the 1987 Charter that will allow a shift from presidential to federal form of government.
“Considering the strong clamor for amendment or revision to the Constitution through a Con-Con as provided under Article 17 of the 1987 Constitution, it will be more practical and economical for the government to hold the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections simultaneously with the election of delegates to the said convention,” Villafuerte pointed out.
“Aside from saving as much as P6 billion in poll-related expenses by holding three elections all at the same time next February, the postponement will give ample time to address several issues raised by stakeholders about the conduct of the recent [presidential]polls,” he added.
Villafuerte noted that the genuine devolution of powers under a federal government would make local government units (LGUs) self-reliant and in control of their respective development agendas.This, he noted, will spur healthy competition among LGUs in wooing private investments, generating jobs and implementing development programs.
“Federalism will redistribute the national wealth outside Metro Manila, where our natural resources abound,” Villafuerte, a former chairman of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, argued.
“This federal system will bolster President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s plan to create more special economic zones to attract investments and stimulate development and job creation in the countryside, much like what happened in Thailand and Indonesia,” the lawmaker added.
At least 50 percent of special economic zones in the country are either in Metro Manila, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna or Batangas.
Based on government data, only three regions have ample income to survive in a federal system of government — the National Capital Region, Region 3 (Central Luzon) and Region 4 (Calabarzon).