A forum on pursuing federalism

A forum on pursuing federalism Featured

Change has really come even for me. Usually, my Saturdays are sacred as it used to be my golfing day, which is considered “my day off.” Well, last Saturday, after my medical check up, instead of heading towards the golf course, I joined the forum entitled, “Pursuing Federalism: A Shift from Unitary-Presidential to Federal-Parliamentary Government held at the Elizabeth Hotel sponsored by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. (PCCI), Centrist Democracy Political Institute, Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. (CCCI) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Aside from Jose T. Ng, vice president for the Visayas of PCCI, the top speakers were Lito Monico Lorenzana, Chairperson Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines who spoke on federalism and the vital pre-conditions to a future federal-parliamentary government of the Philippines, Atty. Raul Lambino, acting secretary general of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Joji Ilagan-Bian, who spoke on the features of economic liberalization.

One commonality among the speakers is that they are all members of the Consultative Commission (Concom) of 2005 that should have paved the way to a constitutional convention in 2010, but unfortunately for the Filipino people... they elected the wrong man in the person of Pres. Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III who steadfastly refused to amend the 1987 Constitution that was crafted during the presidency of Cory Aquino.

While I missed the morning event with Lito Lorenzana, the talk of Atty. Raul Lambino gave us an idea that our shift to federalize the country will not happen overnight. He also gave a detailed explanation on what is constituent assembly (con-ass) and constitutional convention (con-con). He also told us that there would be some states that would first have to become an autonomous region before they can become a full-blown state. He gave examples of what happened to the State of Alaska and Hawaii and I might add, the Philippines if we did not ask for independence from the United States of America.

This is why in my own studies we should start with only three states, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. But a criterion to become a state should be very stringent... unlike what we have today, where in order to become a province, all that a locality needs to pass is the size of their territory or landmass, then the number of people living in the territory and income. The majority of our provinces pass the first two tests but fail miserably on their income. If you ask me... financial should be the first measure whether a territory can be a state or not.

Joji Ilagan-Bian gave a very nice powerpoint presentation on the economic provisions of the Constitution especially the pros and cons of foreign ownership of lands, ownership of media outlets and gave a comparison with our ASEAN neighbors. Indeed our work is cut out for us. We should have done this six years ago, which is why I dare say that the Aquino years were in my book, wasted years!

In truth, this year is my 30th year as a journalist. In fact on Thursday July 28, is the 30th anniversary of The Philippine STAR and back then, I mistakenly thought that the 49 people that then Pres. Cory Aquino tasked to change the 1973 Constitution would have already made that shift to a parliamentary-federal form of governance. Alas, the people who changed our Constitution genuflected at the altar of Imperial Manila that continued to rule our country in the next 30 years after the EDSA Revolution.

Thirty years later we are still a “failed state” as we could never be a unified nation as the rest of the Philippines were excluded from infrastructure development. For instance there is only an LRT or MRT in Metro Manila. But none has been given to Metro Cebu or Metro Davao, which also needs the same mass transit systems. I can go on writing about the ills of our unitary form of government but I’ll run out of space.

It is for this very reason why we supported Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to be our president for he is a man with a plan to change our nation and our government to serve our people better, faster with great efficiency and above all, spread infrastructure development to where it is needed the most. This is something we shall see in our lifetime.

My final question to our speaker’s bureau is how to bring that forum down to the grassroots and barangay level for better understanding. This is what the Centrist Democratic Institute is planning to do. Finally after the Federalism Forum, I rushed to MyTV Studios just in time to meet for the first time a fellow Philippine STAR columnist in the person of Boy Abunda of ABS-CBN who was interviewed in the talk show of Mike Lopez, dubbed Open Mike who turned the tables on Boy and interviewed him instead.

* * *

source: http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/07/26/1606728/forum-pursuing-federalism

Read 2734 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 17:54
Rate this item
(0 votes)