House won’t give up federalism push

MANILA Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia on Monday said the House of Representatives will not give up in its push for federalism amid a recent survey, which showed that a majority of Filipinos oppose a shift to a federal form of government.

According to the latest Pulse Asia survey, 62 percent said they were not in favor of federalism, 28 percent said they were in favor while 10 percent said they didn't know or couldn't say.

In a press conference, Garcia said the lower chamber will support the fulfillment of President Rodrigo Duterte's advocacy on federalism, which is one of his key election platforms.

"The President when he was still a candidate had pushed for this shift... We are in full support of the advocacy of the President, which is why we will continue the push for this shift to a federal system," Garcia said.

Garcia stressed the need to step up the information drive to promote federalism and educate the public about its features.

"We are confident that as we continue and step up massive information campaign as regards a federal system of government, the public opinion will invariably change. And we are optimistic that upon understanding the need for this shift in our system of our government, the Filipinos will ultimately embrace federalism," Garcia said.

"Only an informed populist can truly make an intelligent and responsible decision on the issue of abandoning the unitary and centralized form of government we have been accustomed to for so long and adopting a novel federal form of government," she added.

She said surveys often come and go and are dependent upon a particular mood at a given moment.

The same survey also showed that two in three Filipinos or 67 percent were against current moves to change the 1987 Constitution.

Meanwhile, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said the survey results only prove that there is really no public clamor for a new Constitution.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, on the other hand, warned those pushing for Charter change to stop it now or else, "face the people's wrath."

"The bold writings are very clear on the wall: majority of our people are opposed to Charter change and this is bound to grow as more of its provisions are exposed as anti-people and will only further the self-serving interests of the present elitist system," Zarate said.

The Pulse Asia survey was conducted from June 15 to 21 with 1,800 respondents. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency