NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur – The advantages of a federal form of government, which gives more power to the provinces through the so-called bottoms-up decision-making and no-nonsense leadership, were highlighted in a federalism summit held at the open court of this town’s municipal hall on Wednesday afternoon. 

The local government unit (LGU) of Narvacan, led by Mayor Zuriel Zaragoza, hosted the summit in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s advocacy to implement real change.

it was attended by more than 1,500 participants. 

Zaragoza said the decentralization and devolution of powers and authority from the national government to the LGUs would enable the latter to become self-reliant, making them an effective partner in attaining national goals and in nation building. 

He reiterated that this could only be achieved through timely transition from the present form of government to a federal one. 

Meanwile, citing the top four agenda of the Duterte administration -- anti-criminality and corruption, rule of law, peace and order, and poverty alleviation -- Undersecretary Joel Egco, Executive Director of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, urged Ilocos residents to support the President for “he is our last card, our last hope” to achieve change.

As a former activist himself, Egco said only under the Duterte administration has he felt the sincerity of a leader to implement change. 

Expressing support for a revolutionary government towards federalism, Elmer Bumanglag, 58, of Napo village in Badoc, Ilocos Norte, said he believes a new form of government would do more good for the common people. 

“I like it because it will benefit the future generation. With federalism, all regional states will have their own set of governance and 80 percent of the taxation will remain at the local level and 20 percent will go to the national level. If this pushes through, corruption will be eliminated,” said Bumanglag as he joined other members of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte--National Executive Coordinating Committee, Ilocos Norte Chapter in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur during the federalism summit. 

For a young farmer-engineer, John Lei Ganiron of Batac City, federalism could probably be the Filipinos' last hope to solve corruption and the many ills of the government today.

“We need one supreme power from a leader who knows how to lead the country in the right way. We trust our leader and we are confident he can make it for the common good,” Ganiron said on Wednesday. 

The first-of-its-kind federalism summit in the second district of Ilocos Sur also kicked off a week-long celebration of the Bagnet Festival of Narvacan in time for the town’s 141st foundation anniversary. 

Aside from Egco, other Cabinet undersecretaries who joined the summit were Emilie Padilla for Legislative Liason and Special Concerns of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Virginia Orogo for special concerns of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office. (PNA)