Federalism’s time has come, says Nene Pimentel
Former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. on Saturday said he was very optimistic that the Philippines will finally see a shift to a federal form of government under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte after failed attempts in the past.
“If you ask me, 1,000 percent I am very optimistic. Itong issue ng federalism, it’s time has come. Biro mo 1982 pinag-usapan na namin ito. Talking about time tables, it can be done,” Pimentel told reporters at a forum in Intramuros, Manila.
Pimentel is the founder of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which fielded Duterte as its presidential candidate in the elections.
The party has formed a “supermajority” in Congress following Duterte’s electoral victory, making sure that the President’s legislative agenda, including federalism, will push through.
Pimentel noted that the shift to a federal form of government should be done in the soonest possible time, while Duterte’s political capital is at its peak.
“It has to be done as fast as possible while the political capital of Digong is more or less at its height, malaki pa ang traction ni President Digong. Therefore if he pushes for it, the chances are the people will also accept it,” he said.
The federal form of government being pushed by Pimentel will see the retention of congressional districts as well as the election of 66 senators to represent 11 federal states—four in Luzon, four in the Visayas and three in Mindanao.
The former senator also highlighted the importance of educating the public on the various legal implications of federalism, particularly on changes that will be made in the Constitution.
“We have to inform the people so that they will understand by the time na ma-revise na tayo ng Constitution, the people will be ready to accept the principle,” he said.
Pimentel said the most efficient way of educating the public on federalism was through the media, the freedom of which, he said, should not be compromised under a new form of government.
“We have to use the media because that is the fastest way of bring the issue to the people. That is why the right of media to free speech must always be maintained. Hindi maaaring bawasan yun,” he said. “Even if we are to adopt a federal system of government, we are for the protection of media as an institution.”
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