Federalism 'still alive'

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THE move toward a federal government is not yet dead, according to its advocates.

Lihok Pederal Dabaw (LPD) advocate Nerio Navarro said Saturday, August 10, that the campaign to shift the country toward federalism is still ongoing despite not being included in President Rodrigo Duterte's recent State of the Nation Address (Sona) last July.

Navarro, however, admitted that changing the new political system "is not yet the right time for it will do no good for the country, and the president."

"It’s just a matter of time. Dako ako pagtuo nga muabot kana by the end of the term of Duterte (We have high hopes that it will push through before the end of Duterte's term)," he said during the Davao Media Forum at Penong's Sta. Ana on Saturday, August 10.

Since the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF) was created by Duterte, various agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and different federalism movements that were harmonized into a single group, had been reaching out to the barangays to discuss the contents and the positive effects of shifting toward a federal-type of government.

Prior to Duterte's assumption in the presidency in 2016, he went around the country to promote federalism. This led him to win after he promised in his campaign that under the new type of government, poverty alleviation and corruption would be eliminated.

But he said some federalism groups and advocates are still divided as to what type of federal model should be imposed.

He also said some are even proposing a charter change (Cha-cha) or the changing of the constitution as an alternative.

But he also said Cha-cha would also fail because some senators will not support it due to the supposed extension of the president's term.

"Parehas ta gusto federalism, wala lang ta nagkahiusa kanus-a, ug pila ka state or federalism region (We all wanted to push for federalism. We just don't seem to agree as to how many states or federal regions should we propose)," Navarro said, admitting it would also be costly.

Meanwhile, he urged the public not lose hope in federalism.

"I want to personally warn everybody nga dili magpakasayop og basa, ngano wala gibasa sa Sona ni President Duterte. Ayaw og pagpakasayop nga mawad-an og pag-asa sa federalism, because that is not the message as to ngano wala kana niya gibasa (I would to personally warn everybody not to misinterpret as to why President Duterte skipped federalism in his Sona speech. Do not lose hope because that is not the President's message of not including it in his speech. He is not giving up on federalism)," Navarro said.

According to the 11th series of City Wide Social Survey (CWSS) of the Ateneo de Davao University (Addu)-University Research Council (URC), 75.9 percent out of the 1,599 respondents from the 67 barangays in Davao City, are aware of federalism.

Meanwhile, 41.4 percent of the responders believe it will facilitate the distribution of resources.

Earlier, Duterte acknowledged that federalism may not happen during his term.

"Federalism is good but there are certain things that you have to be very clear. One is that it devolves a lot of authority to the local government's region. It must be something like the President, not I, I suppose that it would come after me," Duterte said in a media interview after he delivered his fourth Sona before the joint session of Congress on July 22.


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