The jour­ney to­wards ‘Ped­er­al­ismo Para sa Tu­nay na Pag­babago’

Palawan Daily News - - Front Page - Ni Su­san G. De Leon

There is a proverb that says “a jour­ney to a thou­sand miles be­gins with a sin­gle step”. This is com­pa­ra­ble to the ef­forts we have re­cently done to ac­cel­er­ate the cam­paign to elicit sup­port for the fed­eral sys­tem of gov­ern­ment.

We ac­knowl­edge the enor­mous tasks ahead, still we do not want to over­whelm our­selves with all the things and the ac­tiv­i­ties that needs to be un­der­taken to thread on the road to fed­er­al­ism and so we are tak­ing one step a time.

Come with us then and let us be­gin our jour­ney to­wards “Ped­er­al­ismo Para Sa Tu­nay na Pag­babago!”

Novem­ber 14, we left the of­fice in Que­zon City at 5:00 a.m. an­tic­i­pat­ing the traf­fic at EDSA go­ing to Parañaque City. It is the first to two­day event of a two-round fed­er­al­ism road­shows slated for Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion be­ing con­ducted by the De­part­ment of the In­te­rior and Lo­cal Govern­men­tNCR in part­ner­ship with the Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee (ConCom) and the Philip­pine In­for­ma­tion Agency-NCR.

The event started with a fed­er­al­ism me­dia fo­rum held at the Parañaque City Hall.

In­sti­tute for Po­lit­i­cal and Elec­toral Re­forms ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Ra­mon Casi­ple said cor­rup­tion is a big prob­lem un­der the present uni­tary form of gov­ern­ment due to pa­tron­age sys­tem.

“Un­der uni­tary sys­tem, the prob­lem of cor­rup­tion is stronger. Why? Be­cause of pa­tron­age sys­tem. How to main­tain the loy­alty down the line? You have to give a share. The prob­lem of cor­rup­tion is ram­pant,” Casi­ple said.

Un­der fed­eral sys­tem, Casi­ple said the bud­get of the 18 fed­er­ated re­gions are no longer de­pen­dent on the Pres­i­dent, re­duc­ing the pa­tron­age sys­tem.

“It would mean each level of gov­ern­ment will be given op­por­tu­nity to stand on their own. The reliance on pa­tron­age will weaken. It’s no longer a mat­ter of life and death,” he said.

Un­like the present sys­tem where the voices of the peo­ple are hardly heard, Casi­ple said fed­er­al­ism will give the peo­ple of each re­gion a chance to be heard as it will de­cen­tral­ize the power of na­tional gov­ern­ment to the re­gions.

“Un­der fed­eral sys­tem, the peo­ple know bet­ter their lead­ers be­cause they are close to their (fed­er­ated) gov­ern­ment. It would be eas­ier for them to launch cam­paign against cor­rup­tion,” Casi­ple said.

Atty. Su­san Or­di­nario, mem­ber of the Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee (ConCom) tasked to re­view the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion and pre­pared the pro­posed fed­eral char­ter, said res­o­lu­tion of cor­rup­tion and other cases will now move fast due to stronger ju­di­ciary sys­tem un­der the pro­posed fed­er­al­ism.

“What we did un­der new sys­tem, ev­ery re­gion will have now an Om­buds­man, ev­ery re­gion will have its own Civil Ser­vice. The courts will be strength­ened. The Court of Ap­peals will now be present in ev­ery re­gion. So, all cases will now move fast,” Or­di­nario said.

Pro­fes­sor Ed­die Alih, an­other ConCom mem­ber, ap­pealed to Filipinos, in­clud­ing politi­cians, to make sac­ri­fices and give fed­er­al­ism a chance.

“Let us all sac­ri­fice for this coun­try, for the sake of our beloved na­tion and our peo­ple. Now is the time to change the sys­tem of our gov­ern­ment,” Alih said.

Alih, to­gether with Casi­ple and Or­di­nario, is hop­ing the shift of gov­ern­ment will hap­pen be­fore Duterte’s pres­i­dency ends in 2022.

“Let’s change the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment now within the term of Pres­i­dent Duterte. Why? Be­cause Pres­i­dent Duterte has a po­lit­i­cal will and de­spite the op­po­si­tion, Duterte re­mains pop­u­lar,” he added.

Parañaque City Mayor Ed­win Oli­varez, mean­while, as­sured the sup­port of Parañaque res­i­dents for Duterte’s cam­paign to shift the form of gov­ern­ment to fed­er­al­ism.

“We have a clear pic­ture of what fed­er­al­ism is all about. Let us thrive to learn how our coun­try can shift to a new po­lit­i­cal sys­tem with as lit­tle dif­fi­culty as pos­si­ble for ev­ery­one,” Oli­varez said.

“Let us keep an open eye, let us keep an open mind, let us keep an open heart. We must not be afraid of new things of change and we must trust the wis­dom of our good Pres­i­dent who I’m sure are all in the best in­ter­est of Filipino peo­ple in push­ing to shift to a fed­eral form of gov­ern­ment,” he added.

Town­hall Meet­ing & Re­gional Con­ven­tion

On Novem­ber 15, the se­cond day of the road­show, two events were con­ducted, a town­hall meet­ing in the morn­ing and re­gional con­ven­tion in the af­ter­noon.

The town­hall meet­ing is an av­enue to dis­cuss var­i­ous is­sues and con­cerns pe­cu­liar to a Re­gion in re­la­tion to pro­posed Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion. It was par­tic­i­pated by mul­ti­sec­toral mem­bers from the cities of Parañaque, Manila, Pasay, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pateros, Makati, and Las Piñas while the Re­gional Con­ven­tion is some sort of a po­lit­i­cal rally that ex­press sup­port to Fed­er­al­ism that was par­tic­i­pated by var­i­ous stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing lgus, sec­toral groups, and those who openly sup­port fed­er­al­ism and con­sti­tu­tional re­form.

Dur­ing both ac­tiv­i­ties, mem­bers of the Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee have called on the elec­torate to vote for can­di­dates who sup­port fed­er­al­ism, if they be­lieve that the new form of gov­ern­ment will re­duce poverty, cor­rup­tion and po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty in the coun­try.

Or­di­nario made this call when asked how the peo­ple’s de­sire for change un­der fed­er­al­ism will get the needed sup­port from Congress.

“Yun pong ma­g­a­ga­gawa ninyo as cit­i­zen, kung ito po ang gusto ninyo, ay iboto po ninyo ang mga tao na nag­susu­porta sa fed­er­al­ism,” Or­di­nario replied to a query dur­ing the town hall meet­ing.

Or­di­nario said the ConCom will con­tinue to help in ex­plain­ing the ad­van­tages and ben­e­fits that the peo­ple will get from fed­eral form of gov­ern­ment.

“Bago natin dal­hin sa plebiscite, lalakarin na namin ang pag­bibi­gay ng in­for­ma­tion sa at­ing mga kababayan,” she said.

Prof. Ed­mund Tayao, an­other ConCom mem­ber, said peo­ple should let their voices heard by mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Se­nate.

“Sana wag natin pabayaan sila lang magdedesisyon. Kulitin natin mga con­gress­man at higit sa la­hat kulitin natin mga senador dahil ayaw nila baguhin yun mem­ber­ship ng Se­nate. Hindi na kasi sila man­analo ka­pag gi­nawang re­gional,” Tayao said.

Un­der the pro­posed fed­eral sys­tem, the fed­eral repub­lic will be di­vided into 18 fed­er­ated states rep­re­sented by two se­na­tors each, while the House will have one rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each of 240 leg­isla­tive dis­tricts and ad­di­tional 160 mem­bers from po­lit­i­cal party-lists.

Tayao said, fed­er­al­ism it­self will not trans­form the Philip­pines ‘overnight’ into a pro­gres­sive coun­try like the United States, but it will solve the over­con­cen­tra­tion of pow­ers in Metro Manila and will al­low re­gions to chart their own de­vel­op­ment pro­grams.

He ex­plained that more money will be brought down to the fed­er­ated re­gions to fund their re­spec­tive pro­grams that would bring pros­per­ity to the peo­ple.

Casi­ple agreed that the em­pha­sis of fed­er­al­ism is re­gional de­vel­op­ment.

He said the over­con­cen­tra­tion of pow­ers and eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in Metro Manila have cre­ated a phe­nom­e­non on num­bers of in­for­mal set­tlers.

“We can­not blame them be­cause job op­por­tu­ni­ties are here. Fed­er­al­ism can help on this is­sue. If dif­fer­ent re­gions are de­vel­oped, it will cre­ate jobs and the ten­dency is peo­ple, even those from Manila, will go to the prov­inces to look for job,” he ex­plained.

Casi­ple said the fast de­vel­op­ment of the re­gions will also be achieved if the peo­ple will elect com­pe­tent lead­ers from the level of the re­gional gover­nor down to the barangay.

Alih said the time has come to shift the form of gov­ern­ment from the Manila-cen­tered uni­tary to fed­eral sys­tem.

“Let’s do it now within the time of Pres­i­dent Duterte be­cause we have Pres­i­dent who has a po­lit­i­cal will with gen­uine pop­ulist ap­peal. We know that de­spite the at­tack of the op­po­si­tion, Pres­i­dent Duterte re­mains pop­u­lar be­cause he has the sup­port of the peo­ple,” he called on lead­ers of dif­fer­ent sec­tors from south­ern part of Metro Manila.

The first leg of the Fed­er­al­ism Road­show in NCR was hosted by the Parañaque City gov­ern­ment. Be with us again as we con­tinue our jour­ney on the se­cond leg of the road­show that will be hosted by the City Gov­ern­ment of San Juan on Novem­ber 28-19, 2018. (PIANCR)

Par­tic­i­pants to the Fed­er­al­ism Re­gional Con­ven­tion held in Parañaque City on Novem­ber 15. (Photo by PIA-NCR)

Atty. Su­san U. Or­di­nario dis­cusses Struc­ture & Distri­bu­tion of Pow­ers of the State Gov­ern­ment and the Fed­er­ated Re­gions, Con­sti­tu­tional Bod­ies and Pub­lic Ac­count­abil­ity dur­ing the me­dia fo­rum held as part of the Fed­er­al­ism Re­gional Road­show in NCR. (Photo by PIA-NCR)

Prof. Ed­die Al­lih ex­plains Eco­nomic Re­forms and Fis­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tion, So­cial and Po­lit­i­cal Re­forms, Tran­si­tory Pro­vi­sions in the pro­posed Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion. (Photo by PIA-NCR)

Prof. Ed­mund Tayao, ConCom mem­ber, an­swers queries from stake­hold­ers at the town­hall meet­ing with ba­sic sec­tors. (Photo by PIA-NCR)

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