Federalism advocates open to integration

Federalism advocates from different groups are open the plan of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to merge in the campaign towards federalism.

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte, in October 2018, created the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF), under Memorandum circular No. 52 IATF is tasked in “integrating, harmonizing, and coordinating ongoing efforts towards federalism and constitutional reform.”

Kilos Pederalismo sa Pagbabago (KPP) member, former City Councilor Aris Albay said that they are open to working with other federalism groups.

Albay, who was present during the National Summit on Federalism last February 7 and 8 at the Manila Hotel, said that they already received the guidelines of the IATF.

He said that the merger would be like a “Bayanihan Constitution”, wherein the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) will be accepting the suggestions that the different federalism groups would be proposing.

“We would like to believe that all of these will be submitted as suggestions to revise the versions which was drafted by the ConCom, since they were the ones who made the contents of the proposal,” lawyer Albay said.

The KPP member said that they will have a Mindanao-level consultation this March, wherein they will be collating suggestions from their members, that they will be submitting to the ConCom.

Albay said some of the provisions that they were currently disseminating in the entire country are lack of powers for the supposed regional state of government.

Meanwhile, National Alliance for Philippine Federalism president Harold “Bong” Martinez is suggesting to reduce the current 18 regions to 8, so that the regional government will be manageable.

Martinez also contradicted the result of the 2018 Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, saying that 75 percent of Filipinos are not knowledgeable about federalism.

“As we went to the different parts of the country, we saw that people were aware about federalism,” he said during the Davao Media Forum a week ago.

Martinez admitted that there have also been a lot of oppositions to the proposed form of government, similar to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“We are not being complacent in our campaign. Just because President Digong is from Mindanao, doesn’t mean that federalism will automatically win,” he said.

The advocate also mentioned that Davao region has a very low reception towards federalism, unlike in 2014, wherein Duterte started his roadshow to the different parts of the country, which eventually lead him to the presidency in 2016.

“Davao has a weak reception because the local executives in the barangays are blocking its passage, because they are thinking that they will be removed in their positions once it will be passed. But no, they will still be retained,” Martinez said.