House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. CNN Philippines

Duterte warned vs defects of federalism

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. warned the incoming Duterte administration and its allies in Congress of the defect of the proposed shift to the federal system.

He made the warning even as Congressman-elect Luis Raymond Villafuerte of Camarines Sur called for a broad multi-party support to replace the current unitary-presidential form of government with a federal-presidential setup.

Belmonte said under the proposed system, rich regions will become richer and the poor ones will become poorer once they are given absolute control of their own resources.

“I’ve been studying this proposal. It can be made to work, but it’s going to be difficult,” he said.

For instance, he said resources, population and development are concentrated in Metro Manila and the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) region.

“So the wealth of the nation will be located in these areas. The ideal thing is that it is placed all over the nation,” he said.

“Even education, the regions will have full control of under a federal system. So what happens to education in areas that are poor? Can we really have an educational system for each place?” he asked.

In calling for a multi-party support for federalism, Villafuerte said his call has assumed “greater urgency because a shift to the federal system could pave the way to the genuine devolution of powers from so-called ‘Imperial Manila’ to the provinces and cities that would allow the country’s nascent economic overdrive to truly trickle down to the countryside.”
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