THE convening of Congress as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) for the purpose of establishing a federal form of government is top in the agenda of the House of Representatives this year.
“Number one is the convening of Congress into a Constituent Assembly and in revising the Constitution, a shift from a unitary to a federal form of government,” House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said in a television interview on Wednesday, January 3..
If Congress could convene into a Constituent Assembly this January, Alvarez said, the proposed new federal charter could be submitted for referendum simultaneously with the barangay elections in May 2018.
“Pag-trabahohin lang, walang imposible, kayang gawin yun (It's not impossible if we'll work on it. We can do it.),” Alvarez said.
Alvarez, however, doubts if senators will support the proposal to amend the Constitution, noting that the Senate will be dissolved in a federal set up.
Some senators are concerned over their political career with the possible dissolution of the Senate, Alvarez said, adding that federalism should not worry senators as they could be eligible to run for election with a new legislature.
Alvarez appealed to the senators who earlier expressed reservations over the proposed amendment of the Constitution.
“This is a question of patriotism, kung ano yung tama at kung ano yung kailangan sa bayan,” Alvarez said.
(This is a question of patriotism, as to what is correct and what the country needs)
Under the federal form of government proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte patterned after France, the government will still have a president.
In line with this, Alvarez said Congress will propose the establishment of a federal government with a president and a prime minister.
Even before he assumed position as president, Duterte vowed to sprearhead the establishment of a federal form of the government, believing that it is best for the war-plagued Mindanao.
Duterte, who is also a Mindanaoan like Alvarez, believes that failure to change the type of government would stir more conflict in the region and further threaten the survival of the Filipino poeple. (Keith Calayag/SunStar Philippines)