• Thousands gather for federalism summit


    Thousands gathered at the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC) on Saturday to express support for the proposed shift to a federal system of government.

    Led by Cagayan Economic Zone Authority Administrator Raul Lambino, a coalition of multi-sectoral groups supporting federalism as well as delegates from local government units filled the QCMC to discuss the benefits of federalism.

    Lead convenor Raul Lambino (right) along with former Chief Justice Reynato Puno (middle) and Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte (left) show their support for federalism during a rally at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

    The gathering, according to Lambino, is to show that the campaign for federalism is now in full blast.

    “The shift to a federal form is about making the lives of millions of Filipinos better,” Lambino said.

    Dubbed as “Fed-IBIG ng Bayan para sa Pagbabago,” the gathering was hosted by newly appointed Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board director Jesus “Bong” Suntay.

    Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte led the opening remarks, saying she has moved for federalism by giving seminars to the city’s women sector.

    “We have over 12,000 women who already given seminars about federalism, a survey conducted on their sectors indicated that 85 percent of them were in favor of federalism,” she told the crowd.

    Lambino, for his part, said the diverse sectoral groups were united by the belief that a decentralized system would provide solutions to Muslims’ historical aspirations and preserve cultural diversity while encouraging competition within a state and among existing states for improved economic performance.

    “It is because our entire experience with a highly centralized system has created two nations in our country—a nation of the ‘haves,’ which is the super-rich tip of the economic pyramid, and a nation of the ‘have-nots,’ which is its impoverished base that has suffered from decades of government inaction and neglect,” Lambino explained.

    Two known authorities in the proposed shift away from the unitary system, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. also attended the rally.


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