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Moving towards federalizing PH

July 13,2016 - 09:55 PM

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Even before he became president, then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte was crisscrossing the country to promote federalism as an alternative to solving the Bangsamoro people’s plight rather than the Bangsamoro Basic Law lobbied by his predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III.

Now that he is in the seat of power, federalism is one of the few things listed on top of the President’s agenda aside from eradicating the drug menace and restoring the people’s trust in government.

Unlike those two immediate goals, however, Mr. Duterte prefers to let others do the campaigning for him such as former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and his son, rumored Senate president-to-be Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Both men happen to spearhead the PDP-Laban under which Duterte ran for the presidency, and they have the expertise to explain to the public what constitutes federalism and how it can benefit the country.

Shifting to a federal form of government, however, involves amending the Constitution, and 29 years after it was ratified, the 1987 Constitution is admittedly in need of major amendments to keep it relevant with the times.
How to change the Constitution has become a matter of debate though Senate President Franklin Drilon kept in step with President Duterte’s pronounced preference for a Constitutional Convention rather than a constituent assembly as some lawmakers in the Lower House propose.

If Duterte’s wish for a constitutional convention were to be upheld by his ally, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, then the country will proceed with ConCon as well as it should be.

The rationalization by some Con-Ass proponents that their way is cheaper and faster belies the prevailing public perception that the lawmakers, if left to their own devices, will mangle provisions of the Constitution to better accommodate their wants and needs, not the least of which is term limits and any prohibition against dynasties.

True, it would be expensive, but anything that is worth doing is worthy of the expense and effort that go into achieving it. Electing delegates is a tricky business, but it will allow for representation from the widest possible number of sectors including the left who will no doubt push for the nationalization of industries and other protectionist measures.

Amending the Constitution to allow for federalization will also allow for a government setup that would be workable for the Bangsamoro people who have fought long and hard for independence.

These and other possibilities loom for the work ahead of federalizing the country, but as in every important work, it’s the foundation that should be set up and doing that entails winning public support for this endeavor.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, Du30, Duterte, federalism, Mindanao, Philippines, President Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President Rody Duterte, Rody Duterte

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