Gov’t must further educate Filipinos on Cha-cha, federalism

MANILAHouse Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday emphasized the need for the entire national government to intensify efforts at explaining to the Filipino people the need to revise the 1987 Constitution and the proposed shift to a federal system of government.

In a news release on May 2, Alvarez made the statement in reaction to the results of the March 2018 Ulat ng Bayan survey of Pulse Asia showing that while half of all Filipinos are aware of Charter change efforts, only one in four favors it at present.

"The survey finding that 3 out of every 4 Filipinos, or 75 percent, have little/almost none/no knowledge at all about the 1987 Philippine Constitution tells us very clearly that we must come together and intensify the information, education and communication campaigns throughout the country to tell our people that we must revise the three-decade-old Constitution to make it responsive to changing times," Alvarez said.

As to the survey result showing that 71 percent of all Filipinos admit to having little/almost none/no knowledge at all about the proposed federal system of government, Alvarez said while the House is already doing its best to explain to Filipinos the benefits of the federal system over the current unitary system, the big challenge is to make the information seep down to the grassroots.

"Our advocacy of the federal system is anchored on our firm belief that by giving the regions greater leeway in terms of powers and resources, we can unleash their potential to contribute to over-all economic growth and social development for the long term," he added.

He said if many Filipinos do not know much about federalism, the survey should have also asked: Do you know what is a unitary system of government?

"Why did the survey only focus on the federal system? If the respondents were also asked about a unitary system of government, many more would have answered that they do not understand or know little about it all," he said.

The House leader stressed that while the Duterte administration respects the survey result showing that most Filipinos were more concerned with higher pay for workers, lower prices of basic goods and employment opportunities and that government is already addressing these three major concerns, "we need to prepare for the future."

"Beyond satisfying the everyday needs of our people, we must erect the foundations of a better life for our people by reducing poverty levels through sustained economic growth in the coming years. After all, the function of a good leader is precisely to steer the nation towards new directions, apart from satisfying immediate needs," Alvarez said. "A good leader is precisely one who does what is right that would benefit the majority of our people to prepare them for a better tomorrow. Charter change and the shift to a federal system are our roadmap to a better future for all," he added. (PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency