MANILA -- MalacaAang on Sunday expressed optimism that the Senate will eventually support President Rodrigo Duterte's proposed shift to a federal form of government.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this reaction after Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate's priority is the passage of the 2019 national budget.
The disposition of the Senate with respect to this proposal should be understood along with its current and tight situation of addressing the 2019 budget with not too ample time to spare, Panelo said in a statement.
We thus expect the Senate to support the President's desire for a federal form of government thereafter and see the wisdom of changing the system of government as part of society's transformation for the betterment of all the Filipinos, he added.
Last Thursday, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in cooperation with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), completed its regional campaign sorties for federalism by holding yet another well-attended convention rally in San Juan City.
From regional level, the DILG is set to hold a federalism roadshow at the provincial, municipal and probably down to barangay level next year, said Gary Olivar of the Centre for Federalism and Constitutional Reform.
Olivar said the DILG and ConCom have trained local speakers to explain advantages and benefits of the federal form of government at the provincial level.
The federalism roadshow was held in different regions of the country to intensify the government's information drive and increase public awareness about the proposed shift to federalism.
Under federalism, the 18 federated regions of the country will be given more power and autonomy to develop their respective areas without relying too much on the national government.
Members of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked by Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution and prepare the draft of federal charter have been helping DILG and PCOO in explaining to the people the benefits and advantages of federal over the current unitary form of government.
On Oct. 31 this year, Duterte created an Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF) to raise public awareness on the proposed new system of government.
Under Memorandum circular No. 52 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by authority of the President, the IATF will take charge of integrating, harmonizing, and coordinating ongoing efforts towards federalism and constitutional reform.
Among the inter-agency's tasks are to develop strategies and implement such activities necessary and proper to raise public awareness on federalism and constitutional reform and prepare an information dissemination and public communication plan to ensure an effective, efficient, and uniform undertaking of advocacy activities.
Moreover, the IATF will undertake consultations with the former members of the Consultative Committee, government agencies, the private sector, and the public in general concerning federalism and constitutional reform.
According to the memorandum, members may designate their respective permanent representatives to the IATF with the rank of Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary.
The IATF shall submit quarterly reports on its activities and accomplishments to the President. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency