The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is more driven to push for constitutional reform following the release of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey and the huge turnout of the Federalism roadshows conducted in Dumaguete and Baguio.
DILG Assistant Secretary for Communication and Public Affairs Jonathan E. Malaya says the Department looks at the recent SWS results in a positive light and sees it as an opportunity to ramp up efforts to promote federalism in the regions. “The numbers look promising and we’ll take it as an opportunity to further accelerate our campaign for constitutional reform,” says Malaya.
A closer look at the survey, he says,will show that the study was done prior to the DILG’s roadshow for federalism -a sign that the time was ripe for the advocacy to accelerate. “Let’s see how the results will fare after we’ve brought our information campaign to all 17 regions. I’m certain that not only will awareness rise,but support will also escalate,” Malaya added.
The DILG and the Consultative Commission to Review the 1987 Constitution recently joined forces in a series of Federalism Roadshows where both teams will conduct consultations, town hall meetings, conventions, and speakers' training in all 17 regions of the country. It started last June 18 in Dumaguete City.
The First Quarter 2018 SWS Survey conducted in March 23-27, 2018 found that one out of four or 25% of Filipino adults were aware of federalism.
It was also found that people in the rural provinces (27%) knew about federalism more than those in urban areas (24%).Awareness on and support for federal governance was highest in Mindanao. Next to Mindanao was Metro Manila, followed by Visayas,then Balance Luzon.
The survey also showed that the more that people understood federalism, the more that they agree with a federal shift. Malaya said that once people are informed that federalism would be beneficial to their families, they will undoubtedly see the DILG’s campaign in a favorable light.
“The survey also reveals that among those who knew about federalism,around 37% actually supported the federal shift,while only 29% were opposed to it,” said Malaya.
He expects more of the undecided 34% to support Federalism once President Rodrigo R. Duterte endorses the Consultative Committee’s proposed model for constitutional reform during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month.
According to the SWS report, net agreement with the federal system was moderately strong because Filipinos have “much trust” in the President and are satisfied with his performance as President and his administration’s performance in government.
The DILG Assistant Secretary says the dialogues and conventions / rallies in Baguio and Dumaguete were attended by thousands from the various sectors and political groups in the different parts of the Negros and Cordillera Regions.
“We were able to successfully highlight the need for federalism and constitutional reforms amidst the failure of the present political system to make lives better for the people. Federalism will empower the regions politically and economically. The people have had enough of a highly centralized government set up since colonial times,” says Malaya.
Malaya is optimistic that the roadshows being conducted by the DILG along with Concom’s consultations will not only increase public awareness on federalism, but will also gain overwhelming support from the regions.“We have only just begun and we’ve already gained the support of different sectors in the Negros and Cordillera Regions,” he says.
The Department has so far conducted its roadshow in two regions, namely the Negros and Cordillera Regions, and has received good feedback from both the Negrense and the Cordillera people.
Next week, the DILG will bring the roadshow to Legazpi City in the Bicol Region and thus invites the Bicolanos to participate in the Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors and the convention / rally for federalism.“Let us all participate in the dialogue and convention to know more about the change the president is trying to espouse through constitutional reform,” says Malaya.
The DILG was tasked by President Duterte to lead the administration’s campaign for federalism and has since advocated for a federal shift.###