There is no such thing as a best and perfect constitution because a constitution must fit the needs of the generation it embraces, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“There is no such thing as the best constitution. A constitution must embody the aspirations and ideals of the current generation of Filipinos. It (1987 Constitution) may have been perfect for the generation that was empowered in the 1980s, but now is the time of Millennials,” says DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya at a town hall meeting in San Fernando, Pampanga.
“We need a constitution that embodies the needs and aspirations of the current and future generations of Filipinos,” he adds.
Consultative Committee (Concom) member Professor Edmund S. Tayao explains that the draft Bayanihan Federal Constitution is a model that allows flexibility that would give room for adjustments as time demands.
“Maglalagay tayo ng flexibility sa dynamics ng takbo ng gobyerno. Kaya constant ang evolution ng gobyerno sa federal na constitution. Kailangang flexible para madali lang maka-adjust sa mga kailangan ng panahon,” says Tayao.
In answer to the people’s question as to the type of federalism that the government wants to adopt, Tayao explains that the Concom carefully studied the different federalism models of other countries and incorporated into the draft their best practices that would best fit the needs of Filipinos.
It is why they named their draft proposal the “Bayanihan Federal Constitution.”
“Itong Bayanihan Federal Constitution na ito is unique to our country. Hindi po natin puwedeng kopyahin ng buo ang federal constitution ng ibang countries dahil para lang sa kanila ‘yon. Ang Bayanihan Federal Constitution ng Concom is the constitution of and for the Filipinos,” says Concom member Professor Eddie Alih.
Simultaneous Regional Roadshows
Meanwhile, during the DILG’s simultaneous roadshows in Regions 2 and 3, local chief executives (LCEs) expressed their support for the president’s call for a federal shift.
“We really appreciate what the Concom has done. It has more clarity now, not only on the LGU side but also as a citizen. This is the most acceptable proposal that I have ever heard. I am optimistic that this will gain support from all the people,” says Cauayan City Mayor Bernard Dy.
“This (federalism) is the only answer. This structure is what we need. If we change the structure, then probably there’s going to be development,” says Guiguinto Municipality of Bulacan Mayor Ambrosio C. Cruz, Jr.
Meanwhile, Aurora Provincial Vice-Governor Rommel Rico T. Angara says their province is open to federalism, but that the draft might need more finetuning to satisfy the concerns of the President’s cabinet members.
“We are open to it because it will help us because in the delivery of basic goods and services, ang gusto natin ay ibigay ito sa kapangyarihan ng mga lokal na gobyerno,” says Angara.
Around 3,000 attendees joined the federalism roadshow in San Fernando, Pampanga while the roadshow in Cauayan, Isabela gathered another 3,000, bringing the total number of the roadshows’ supporters to 6,000 from both Pampanga and Isabela.
The DILG began conducting its roadshows of federalism in June and will spend the rest of the year visiting the different regions of the country to bring information about the administration’s desire for change down to the masses and even the grassroots.
The Department was tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to spearhead the interagency campaign for public awareness on federalism.