DILG brings federalism roadshow to Western Visayas

By Cindy Ferrer

November 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

ILOILO CITY - - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) kicked off its two-day Federalism Roadshow in Western Visayas to raise awareness on the proposed shift from the current unitary to a federal form of government.

A Speakers' Bureau Training, which gathered some 100 participants from different parts of Western Visayas, highlighted the first day of the roadshow held at Hotel del Rio in this city. The participants were composed of representatives from the civil society organizations, other regional government agencies and selected officers of the DILG 6 (Western Visayas).

In a media forum, Ramon Casiple, Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, stressed the need to further strengthen the information dissemination about the shift to federal government because “the knowledge on federalism is at a very very low point.”

“The simple reason is we never had federalism in the Philippines for about 450 years, the system of the government in the Philippines is a unitary government so there is a lot to explain,” he said.

Casiple described the shift to federal government as the “centerpiece of change” that President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing in the country.

“The President is serious about this campaign promise,” he said.

Casiple, who presented the topic on ‘What is Wrong with the Unitary System’, said there have been a weakening and mal-development of peripheral regions in the country because of the current government system.

However, he said that the federal government will allow the sharing of governmental powers to the regions, bring the government closer to the people at the grassroots, restrict political dynasties, and develop local governance, among others.

Meantime, Prof. Alfredo Sureta Jr. of the Federalism Institute, presented the Salient Features of the draft of the Federal Constitution, which featured, among others, the national territory of federated regions, as well as their structure; fiscal powers and financial administration; distribution of government powers; and constitutional commissions.

Under the draft constitution proposed by the Consultative Committee (ConCom), Western Visayas region is among the 16 regions classified as symmetrical in character.

Sureta said that the roadshow opened the opportunity for the people in the region to share their opinions and suggestions on the draft constitution.

The roadshow will continue in this city on Thursday through the Federalism Convention at the Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriao district to further intensify the public education campaign and focus on heightening the awareness of the Filipino community on federalism.

The convention will gather about 3,000 participants from all over the region, composed of members of civil society organizations, partner government agencies, local government units and other stakeholders.(PNA)