MANILA -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured that its commitment to help bring about a federal form of government remains firm and it is now working with other government agencies to finalize the Bayanihan Federalism model developed by the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution.
This was the department's reaction to the challenge of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari that the current administration should make good on its promise to bring about federalism.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform (IATF) led by Secretary Eduardo AAo and its 10 clusters or committees have been meeting regularly for the past several months in preparation for the opening of the new Congress in June.
The IATF expects to finish its work by June of this year and we hope to work closely with the new Members of Congress to have this approved during the second half of the President's term, he said.
The IATF counts among its members the Department of Justice, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Department of National Defense, Civil Service Commission, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Presidential Management Staff, Commission on Higher Education, Development Academy of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Law Center, the Department of Finance, among others.
Federalism, as we all know, is a complex matter. It's a change in how we are governed. The devil is in the details. So, I think we have to give government more time to iron out the details. And that's what we have been doing recently, he said.
Malaya said they still have three years before President Rodrigo Duterte's term ends wherein they can convince both houses of Congress as well as generate widespread public support for the adoption of federalism.
There's still time to get this off the ground so Misuari shouldn't worry. We hope that Chairman Misuari will instead help the IATF advocate for federalism among our people so that more people will understand why federalism is needed, he said.
He added that the IATF will resume the public advocacy campaign after the mid-term elections.
Since its election season we postponed some of our activities to the later part of the year but as soon as the elections are over, we will go full blast in our advocacy campaign. In the meantime, the DILG has been working with civil society organizations, NGOs, and national government agencies preparing for the resumption of the advocacy campaign," Malaya explained.
Meantime, the DILG organized the first Federalism Summit last February 7-8 in Manila attended by some 500 federalism advocates, and last week, it organized the National Government Agencies Federalism Conference attended by some 200 government officials. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency