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Random Thoughts: Essence of Federalism

‘Upon realizing that the essence of federalism is to insert a new level of local government between national and provincial, only 37 percent of Filipinos like it, 29 percent dislike it and the rest cannot say. There is no popular cry for federalism.” (Mahar Mangahas, “The SWS surveys of 2019”, Social Climate, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Feb. 9, 2019)

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The above quotation is one of the highlights from the 2019 SWS Survey Review presented last Feb. 1, 2019. This meant that 34 percent of Filipinos were still undecided concerning the Federalism issue. Clearly, there is still time for the present administration to further strengthen its Federalism information drive to at least convince another 13 percent more of our people to favor Federalism so that majority of Filipinos will go for Federalism.
As far as we know, when President Duterte assumed the Presidency, 33 percent of Filipinos were for Federalism. Then it went down to 27 percent. Now it is 37 percent per latest SWS survey. Clearly, there is a growing momentum in this regard. The administration should take advantage of this.
Last February 7-8, a National Summit on Federalism was sponsored by DILG per info, it was wanting and utterly lacked of media support. We do hope and pray that effort to improve the Inter-Agency Task Force (IAYF) on Federalism campaign headed by DILG be done.
Constitutional reform to adopt a new Federal Constitution must be connected to a bigger picture – the aspirations of the Filipino people expressed in their shared vision pictures to further convince the remaining 13 percent Filipinos still undecided about the issue of Federalism. Calling the attention of DILG on this matter.
Anent the question of Shared Vision for the Philippine, our group’s proposal is embodied in dream Philippines applying the concept of One Nation, One Vision. The proposed shared vision reads: “A nation with full democracy, a diamond-shaped just society, sustainable prosperity and lasting peace. No doubt, it is brief concise, and easy to memorize as required of a well-written vision.”
Per info, Rotary District 3860 is considering to sponsor soon a historic nationwide Summit on Solidarity (SOS), to be held in Davao City, whose main objective is to achieve a national consensus on a final draft of a shared vision is a great and laudable undertaking of a prestigious and transformative civil organization. By the way, Rotary District 3860 is for Federalism, we heard.
More about the Feb. 7-8, 2019 National Federalism Summit held in the Rigodon Hall, Fiesta Pavillon, Manila Hotel, City of Manila. About 450 participants from different Federalism advocate groups nationwide attended the summit. Three of our articles on Federalism – Dream Philippines, Missing Link in Federalism Advocacy and Church’s Vision Vis-à-vis Dream Philippines – were distributed any materials in the summit. The keynote address was delivered by DILG Sec. Eduardo Año, chairman, Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform Campaign.
Some of the VIPs who spoke during the two-day Summit were: Former senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., former Chief Justice Renato S. Puno, Prof. Eddie M. Azih, our friend Atty. Randolph C. Parcacio, and others. President Rodrigo R. Duterte through a representative, Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles, gave a message in the first day of the summit. Four open fora were held. Strategic Direction for 2019 and Strategic Planning, per info, unfortunately were not undertaken in the last day of the summit. “Bitin” daw itong summit. Back to work now for Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism Information Campaign.
The Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) of which this writer is its technical consultant, is planning to hold a Mindanao Federalism Summit soon. The purpose of this event is to amend the Consultative Committee’s (Con-Com’s) proposed Bayanihan Federal – Presidential Constitution particularly its Federalism recommendation which I considered a “recipe for disaster” and which Malacañan economic team criticized that it will “wreak havoc on our economy”. Furthermore, the aspiration” of Mindanaoan federalists is for strong Federal Regions as in a Competitive Federal Model unlike the Con-Coms weak Federal Regions of a Permissive Federal Model.
The idea is to have an honest-to-goodness already drafted Federal Constitution in case President Duterte through People Mandate declares a Revolutionary Government mainly for Constitutional Reform. Hence, expect more exciting actions in the reforming of our sick society this year. “Dapat lang!” But beware also of the growing sentiments of some groups of reviving Mindanao secession movement in a No Federalism Scenario.

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