Federalism advocates intensify info campaign
Officials from Malacañang and the Senate who are advocates of federalism will intensify their information campaign by holding more forums about the topic across the country as they believe that their plans to make a federal government a reality are behind schedule.
Ernesto Abella, presidential spokesperson, said this as he renewed the administration’s calls for a change of government by encouraging local government officials to thoroughly understand what federalism is and its implications.
Abella said that they remained optimistic that the federal form of government would be realized before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends in 2022.
He was referring to President Duterte’s administration’s thrust to revert into a federal form of government from a republic state.
“We definitely hope that there will be federalism before our President’s term will end. But what’s important here is that we have educated our constituents on what federalism truly is. Because this is not something they can immediately vote with a yes or no,” he said.
Federalism is a type of government that decentralizes the power and functions of the national government, and provides higher discretion for local government units (LGU).
Luzon, Mindanao next
Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, who is a staunch advocate of federalism, said that he is determined to travel around the country to inform and equip people, particularly people working at the public sector, with knowledge about federalism.
Pimentel, who also attended yesterday’s forum, which was organized by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, said that they planned to bring the forum to Central Luzon and Northern Mindanao.
He also said that this was his personal crusade and not a political one.
“My point in this crusade is for personal reasons only. I did not discuss this one with President Duterte because I believed this an issue that the people needs to be informed first. There’s nothing political about this,” Pimentel said.
Yesterday’s forum, called Cebu Province Federalism Forum, was attended by elected public officials in 53 LGUs in Cebu, Gov. Hilario Davide III and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, and the guest speakers, who include Abella, Pimentel, Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Presidential Adviser Adelino Sitoy.
Liloan, Bantayan mayors
Liloan Mayor Ma. Christina Frasco and Bantayan Mayor Ian Escario, who were present during the forum, said they backed the call for a federal government in the country.
Frasco said that the event would benefit public officials like her because it would help them understand the importance of empowerment in the LGUs.
“I am for federalism because it will definitely empower our local governments like the Municipality of Liloan by providing us bigger funds needed for Liloan’s development,” stated Frasco.
Bantayan Mayor Ian Escario likewise expressed support for federalism, citing it as one of the means for the national government to pay more attention to their counterparts in the provinces, towns and cities.
“Our mayors before had been pushing this before, and now, we’re grateful for Mr. Duterte to finally place importance for a federal state because this will benefit our local governments,” he explained.
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