At least four senatorial candidates of the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Saturday expressed support for the proposed shift to federalism and amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
Senatorial aspirant Astra Pimentel backed the planned shift from the current unitary to a federal form of government, saying it will spur more economic activities and help address poverty and corruption.
The proposed federal type of government is included in the PDP-Laban’s 11-point agenda, Pimentel said in a joint statement.
“Alam naman natin ang (We all know that the) PDP-Laban has dreamed for a country to have federalism for many years already,” she said. “And there are many who already expressed their full support to change the form of government and to amend the present constitution because accordingly it should serve the people but the existing law prevents it.”
Pimentel stressed the need to correct the supposed infirmities of the present constitution that “does not truly reflect the aspiration of the Filipinos and averts the government to help people.”
Former chief presidential legal counsel and now senatorial hopeful Salvador Panelo, in the same statement, explained that the shift to federalism would empower and give independence to local government units (LGUs).
LGUs, Panelo said, no longer need to “beg or be at the mercy of an overly centralized government,” once a federal set-up is implemented.
“You have to redistribute powers coming from the national government at ibigay natin sa mga lokal upang maging independent sila (and give it to local governments to make them independent). Mayroon silang kakayahan, mayroon silang sariling development na hindi umaasa doon sa itaas (They are competent and have the ability not to rely on the national government),” Panelo said.
Panelo along with other PDP-Laban senatorial candidates are willing to immediately step down from office in case they win the senatorial race for the immediate implementation of a federal form of government.
Senatorial candidate Rey Langit also expressed support for the proposed shift to federalism, calling it the “right form of government for Filipinos” and that the country is “already ripe” for a federal type of government.
“Maraming butas sa kasalukuyan nating Saligang Batas ang mawawala sa pamamagitan ng federalism (The loopholes in our Constitution will be addressed if we shift to federalism),” he said.
Senatorial hopeful Greco Belgica said there should be “clear-cut reforms” that must be attained if the change in the form of government takes effect.
Pimentel, who served in the government for over 20 years, said she would push for the passage of the proposed Magna Carta for Barangay Officials and the Barangay Reform Act to address the “imbalance among regions.”
Source: Philippines News Agency