Author of the Local Government Code of 1991 and former senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. led a comprehensive discussion on the federal form of government during the Forum on Federalism and Constitutional Reform held at the Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts Auditorium, January 25.
According to Senator Pimentel, it is now time to shift from unitary and highly centralized form of government to federal system so that all local government units will have proper representation in the administration. Furthermore, the concentration of powers will not mainly focus on the Central Government which hampers the immediate development of the nation.
He shared in Filipino, “Nakita ko kasi na itong sistemang ganito [Centralized Form of Government], hindi uunlad ang Pilipinas kung ang kapangyarihan ng ating bansa ay nasa kamay lamang ng mga makapangyarihang tao sa Metro Manila (I have observed that with this kind of system, the Philippines will not prosper if powers are only vested within the hands of the most influential persons in Metro Manila)".
In his presentation, “Federalism: Balancing the Distribution of Government Powers,” Senator Pimentel explained that the allocation of fund in running the republic will be divided between the Federal Government and the Federal States, wherein 80% of all the revenues will be allotted to the states and 20% will go to the federal government.
If this would push through, the country will be divided into 12 Federal States – five in Luzon, four in Visayas, and three in Mindanao. Metro Manila will be converted into a Federal Administrative Region which will be treated like Washington D.C., New Delhi or Kuala Lumpur. Each of the federal state will have its own set of senators which will be selected by state-wide elections.
Also present at the forum were Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) officials Mr. Jess Maria Acoba and Dr. Enrico Sampang, who also discussed the topics on good governance towards local autonomy and envisioning change in Federal Philippines.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Valenzuela and the Office of City Councilor Rovin Feliciano jointly organized the forum. It was attended by 393 barangay officials, some members of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte - People's National Movement for Federalism (MRRD – PENAMFED), and other members of city-chapter non-government organizations.