The journey towards ‘Pederalismo Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago’
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)