Federalism is within reach: Puno

MANILA -- Former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Reynato Puno is convinced that the shift of the present system of government from Unitary to Federal is almost within reach.

Itong Federalismo ay halos abot kamay na natin. At ito po kung tayo'y papatnubayan ng ating Maykapal ay mangyayari at mangyayari sa panahon ng ating Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. (This Federalism is almost within reach. And with God's grace, it would happen and materialize during term of President Duterte), said Pino, who is also the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) chairperson, in his speech at the FedIBIG para sa pagbabago event organized by groups pushing for Federal form of government at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City Saturday.

Puno urged Filipinos to support the plan of the present administration since it would institute change in the country and benefit future generations of Filipinos.

Puno said it is important for the Filipinos to participate since the voice of the people is the most important thing in a democracy.

Ang pinakamahalaga po ay ang boses ng sambayanan kaya po kami sa Consultative Committee ay palaging makikiisa sa inyo, makikinig sa inyo ng mga kahilingan sapagkat sa isang demokrasya kayo po ang tinatawag nating souvereign kayo po ang boss sa isang demokrasya(What is most important is the voice of the people thus, we at the Consultative Commitee will cooperate and hear your request because in a democracy you are sovereign, you are the boss in a democracy), he noted.

Marami pa po tayong gagawing pagdinig at ito ay ipagpapatuloy natin hanggat makamit natin itong pagbabago ng ating gobyerno fromUnitary to Federal at ito po ang magiging mahalaga nating pamana sa ating taong bayan, magtulungan po tayo. Mabuhay ang Federalismo, Mabuhay ang ating Pangulo (We will hold more hearings and these will be pursued until we achieve the change in our government from Unitary to Federal and this will be our important legacy to our people, let's help each other. Long live Federalism, long live our President), Puno added.

He also vowed to submit their proposal and recommendation before President Duterte deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.

The timeline is six months pero nagkasundo-sundo kami na Isusumite namin ang ating trabaho bago mag-SONA si Pangulong Duterte(The timeline is six months but we agreed to submit our works before President Duterte's SONA)," Puno added.

The Con-Com was created to study amendments to the 1987 Constitution. It is composed of 25 members.

Meanwhile, IConform-Federal Phils., a coalition of diverse multi-sectoral groups, headed by convenor Secretary Raul Lambino � one of the organizers of the event � said it is time for the change in government to right the historical inequities and injustice that have been perpetuated in a unitary and highly centralized government.

It is because our entire experience with a highly centralized system has created two nations in our country�a nation of the haves, which is the super-rich tip of the economic pyramid, and a nation of the have-nots, which is its impoverished base that has suffered from decades of government inaction and neglect, he added.

IConform-Federal Phils. predicts that at the pace it is gathering mass support for the Federal form, the movement will reach a critical peak faster than could be expected, because, it said, people who have welcomed change are going to embrace it too.

The shift to a Federal form is about making the lives of millions of Filipinos better, Lambino said.

Aside from Puno, other local government officials who attended the event included Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte; Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Singson; President of the League of Provinces Camarines Sur Gov. Migs Villafuerte ; President of the League of Cities of the Philippines Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan ; Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Martin Andanar; Overseas Employment Welfare Administration Undersecretary Astra Naik ; and Philippine Chairity Sweepstakes Office Director Jose Bong Suntay. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency