The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is calling on Filipinos to participate in the upcoming Federalism Roadshows and consultations on proposed changes to the Constitution towards a shift to a federal system of government.
“Nananawagan kami sa ating mga kababayan na lumahok sa mga talakayan at konsultasyon na isasagawa ng Consultative Committee (Concom) tungkol sa mga iminumungkahing pagbabago sa ating Konstitusyon,” said DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Austere A. Panadero.
Panadero was one of the panelists during the two-day Conference on Managing Devolved Transition in the Philippines organized by the DILG and the Forum of Federations, the international organization of federal countries.
Also present during the event were members of the ConCom to Review the 1987 Constitution led by former Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., Prof. Edmund Tayao, Atty. Roan Libarios and Atty. Randolph Parcasio; PDP Laban Federalism Institute Fellow Sec. Gary Olivar; Forum of Federations Senior Director Philip Gonzales; and Masbate Vice Governor Jo Kristine Revil.
The DILG Undersecretary said that now that the Concom is almost done with its proposed Constitutional changes, the public should be more engaged in the discussions, provide their inputs and comments to help craft the ideal federalism model for the country.
“Atin itong bigyan ng panahon at intindihin upang lalo nating malaman anong klaseng pagbabago ating dapat suportahan dito sa ating pagshift to the federalism form of government. Ang DILG po ay inyong katuwang at kaagapay sa programang ito,” he said.
DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Jonathan Malaya said that the Federalism Roadshow will begin this June 17 in Dumaguete City. "Together with the ConCom, we will be visiting all regions of the country to begin a national conversation on this important proposal of the government," he said.
Malaya explained that the DILG and ConCom are working together to ensure that the public only gets one message from the government in the face of many groups and organizations advocating for federalism.
During the event, Pimentel outlined the developments made in the proposed model for federalism.
According to Pimentel, there will be 18 regions instead of 17 under a federal system. The model also provides for a presidential form wherein the president and the vice president will have to be elected in tandem.
The Concom will not endorse to extend the term of the president, allaying fears of term extension.
Meanwhile, educational requirements for elected officials have been raised to college level as compared to the current literacy minimum requirement for lawmakers.
“Candidates should know the requirements the position entails when he runs for office,” said Pimentel.
The Concom has approved the proposal to ensure that majority of the House of Representatives will be those who represent the marginalized sectors in the country.
Judicial powers will also be split among three entities instead of just one Supreme Court.
When it comes to financial concerns regarding the poorer regions, the Concom proposes the creation of a Loan Commission in the country that would function like the World Bank.
“We propose that we create an institution similar to the World Bank, an independent body to act as a lending body to address the needs of the less financially capable federal regions,” said Pimentel.
Under a federal system, the federal states would no longer have to wait for the national government’s approval on the investments entering their areas.
The proposed model also outlines provisions for shared powers in which local governments will have a certain level of autonomy while the national government will retain powers on areas pertaining to national concerns like defense and security and monetary policy.
Malaya said the public will hear all the proposed amendments directly from the ConCom and DILG during the roadshows.