Pinoys will likely junk federalism – lawmakers

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Some lawmakers on Saturday said the public will likely reject a revised Constitution because it only favors politicians.

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Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque and Sen. Risa Hontiveros said changing the Charter is not a priority among Filipinos.

“Constitutional change is not what the public demands. What our people need is food, education and health care. They don’t want federalism because they cannot even understand why do we need to add another layer to our bureaucracy to address their pressing concerns,” Roque said in a radio interview.

He was referring plans to amend the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly (ConAss)—a body composed of lawmakers.

Under the planned federal government, the Philippines will have 11 independent states (regions) — the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog Region, Northern Luzon Region, Bicol Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Easten Samar, Western Samar, Eastern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Bangsamoro.

Each region will have the authority to craft its laws and manage its resources but it will still have to split its income with 25 percent going to the national government and 75 percent for the perusal of the concerned region since the national government will retain its full jurisdiction on foreign affairs, national defense, policing and the monetary policy.

“We all know that in a Con-Ass, changing the Constitution will be left to politicians. They would just use government resources to convince the people to agree to their proposal.

That is undemocratic, and just proves that only politicians want federalism,” Roque said.

“It is hard to understand as to how federalism will address poverty and the spate of crimes when the poorer regions will still have to be subsidized by the wealthier ones,” he added.
Hontiveros shared Roque’s sentiments.

“The plan of the House of Representatives to push for a constituent assembly (ConAss) rather than a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) to amend the country’s charter goes against the interest of democracy and active citizenship, especially with a House where the heavy hand of the Executive was so plain to see,” she said.

The government has said ConAss is more economical, considering that the election of ConCon delegates alone would cost P6 billion to P7 billion.

Hontiveros, however urged the government to break up political dynasties, dismantle private armies and build financial sustainability before pursuing federalism.

“We cannot set aside democratic processes and dismiss people participation simply because the fiscal cost of such democratic endeavors are allegedly expensive. This is a dangerous thought,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“This assumes that democracy is a luxury rather than a right that developing countries like ours cannot fully enjoy; assumes that democracy has a price tag and that it can only be enjoyed by the people, subject to the availability of funds,” she added.

“There should be no shortcuts in democracy. The political and economic ambitions of a few cannot lord over the people’s interests.”

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8 Comments

  1. Who said so that it isn’t the clamor of the Filipinos? President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was elected by the majority of the Filipinos which in lieu represent their voice. We have to remind the yellow hontiveros that each region does not need to be subsidized by other regions but it will be derived from their own resources, which 25% will go to the national government as proposed in the Federal system of government. For a long period nothing happened for the development of each regions because it is controlled by imperial Manila under corrupt politicians like what abnoy have done. What happened to the funds from Yolanda yellowtards?

  2. All of politician opposed changes if against their interest. in one year study the cause and effect of federalism. Politicians don’t be selfish these changes are are for the future of the nation as a whole. Don’t deprive the changes because of you own bested interest help build the nation not your wealth in the expense of the people.

  3. These are the kind of politicians who do not belong in government. Obstructionists and supporters of the status quo who only look out for their self-interests. If the country is in bad shape politically, it is mainly because of the unworthy politicians we mindlessly vote into office year after year

  4. president Duterte already said he will be there to oversee what will be presented to him. in short hindi lulusot ang mga pansariling interest ng mga pulpolitician.

    • You are right. Both Roque and Hontiveros are Leftists, and they are itheir positions now because of the party list system which Duterte wants to abolish. Much more in federalism’s 11 states, how will the leftists gather enough votes to win

  5. He is wrong. Even with complete overhaul of government of duterte the benefits will only be attain while he is in office after that the next president may not be as good as him and we will be back in square one. Under federalism many states or region will prosper because of their autonomy and not waiting for central government for action and funding. We see unitary system failed ud for decades what proof else do you need.