‘Consensus emerges on federalism’

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A planned shift to a federal form of government for the Philippines by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte may have a good chance in Congress, given an apparently emerging consensus in both houses, Camarines Sur Representative-elect Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte said.

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Villafuerte issued the statement in reaction to a news report quoting outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon as saying that more senators in the incoming Congress favor constitutional reform.

The newly elected congressman was referring to the statement last week of Drilon about the unraveling stand in the Senate on the need to review and amend the Constitution.

“Whether or not it will be done through Con-Ass (Constituent Assembly) or a Con-Con (Constitutional Convention), I have no feel at this point, just that having to review and amend the Constitution is a matter that I think there is a unanimity in the Senate,” the Senate president earlier said.

With similar backing by presumptive Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for both Charter change or Cha-cha and federalism, Villafuerte said Congress seems likely to give “the big push” at the onset of the Duterte presidency for the overhaul of the national government structure.

He noted that Cha-cha was also among the topics that incoming President Duterte discussed with a group of congressmen-elect in a meeting last week.

“Given this scenario, there is more reason for the formation of a grand coalition of parties from across the political divide in the House of Representatives, and now also the Senate, to finally push the switch to federalism by way of Cha-Cha in the next government,” Villafuerte said.

He added that only genuine devolution of powers from “Imperial Manila” to the provinces and cities would allow the country’s promising economic overdrive to truly trickle down to the masses and enable the incoming President to make good on his plan to create special economic zones and thereby generate enough jobs in the countryside.

The incoming Camarines Sur lawmaker earlier said a grand coalition of pro-administration and opposition political parties to spearhead the federal shift has assumed greater urgency, given Duterte’s publicly declared support for federalism and the backing of incoming House Speaker Alvarez for Charter change.

Under the Constitution, amendments to the 1987 Charter could be introduced by any of these three modes: through a duly-elected Constitutional Convention, Congress convening itself into a Constituent Assembly or a People’s Initiative (PI).

“Congress must take the lead in pushing the federal shift via Charter change on the watch of would-be President Duterte, who himself champions federalism and who enjoys significant popular support,” Villafuerte said.

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3 Comments

  1. Juan T. Delacruz on

    Constitutional Convention is the best way to go because we have so many laws that need to be amended and some of the laws created in 1987 are no longer compatible with the society. Labor Law needs to be overhauled and should be created in such a way to protect laborers. Unionization is one way to protect the working force because this will give them a bargaining power. End of Contract practices should be eliminated completely and temporary hiring is only allowed under certain circumstances. Strict accountability and audits of every government agency should be a must, and a standardize regulatory and statutory guidelines must be established for all government agencies. Double the budget of COA, DOJ, NBI, and the SC to establish more courts and hire more Judges to expedite in adjudicating cases.

  2. Poetang’nang Very Few Elite Oligarch enslaving the nation by Monopolistic Unitary form of government. Peoples power through distribution of power by Fedralism. The miracle of Duterte is the only change for emancipation from Very Few Elite Oligarchs enslaving the Filipinos …… Cha-cha for FEDERALISM.

    • federalism means eventual secession of muslim mindanao and perpetuation of more powerful regional lords! this should not be put into the hands of of the legislative to decide but a comprehensive national debate participated by all sectors of society of proper age and academia. there is not one person in the entire philippines nor a single group or party that can encompasse all the necessary political infrastructure to be able to conclude that the a federal government is what philippines need now. anyone who professes to say so is a joke!