PDP-Laban launches book on federalism

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President Rodrigo Duterte (in black) and members of PDP-Laban at the party's 35th anniversary celebration.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 2) — The PDP-Laban Federalism Institute launches a book on federalism.

The book entitled "The Quest for a Federal Republic: The PDP-Laban Model of Philippine Federalism 1.0" contains articles, which discuss the shift to a federal system of government, a semi-presidential system of governance, the anti-political dynasty provisions, and the reforms in the political party system.

It also contains the proposed constitution of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.

Among its contributing authors are experts from the academe such as Dr. Julio Teehankee, Dr. Alex Brillantes, and Professor Edmund Tayao, among others. 

PDP-Laban President and Senate President Koko Pimentel urged the public to read the book to better understand federalism.

Pimentel explained PDP-Laban has been pushing for federalism because they believe it is the way in which the country can achieve equitable economic growth within our lifetime.

"The change we advocate is not cosmetic only. PDP-Laban is not afraid to propose drastic changes. So our proposed change is structural. By giving more powers to regional governments, the regions would pursue their socio-economic agenda, which is focused on their developmental needs, which they should know better than the center of power or Metro Manila," Pimentel explained.  

Political Scientist Dr. Julio Teehankee, one of the contributors in the book, said the public should not be afraid to change the Constitution.

"While the 1987 Constitution has served us well and has provided us the necessary means and tools to bridge our democratization, our democratic consolidation is not yet complete. Why? Because we never reached economic development and the poor promise of social justice and equity. And that is the reason why, after 30 years, there is a need to revisit the Constitution," Teehankee argued.

Teehankee called on the public to remove their own political biases and look at the issue at hand objectively.

"Let us not spread the politics of fear. That's the last thing this country needs. I am saddened by the fact that it has become so politicized and partisan that those whom I know for the longest time had been for federalism or for at least looking at the constitution are now so against it because they do not like the present situation," Teehankee said.

For his part, PDP-Laban Federalism Institute Executive Director Jonathan Malaya urges lawmakers, members of the academe, framers of the 1987 Constitution, and all those who oppose federalism to read the book.

"For them to know that the proposal for federalism is not only grounded on experience but problem driven and evidence based," Malaya explained.

DILG to launch federalism campaign

Malaya, also an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, says President Rodrigo Duterte has tasked the DILG to lead the campaign for federalism.

To help the public better understand federalism, Malaya said the DILG will start introducing informative materials such as comic strips in different languages of the country, and other materials which can be used in discussions in barangays.

The DILG will only post informative materials on social media.  

"Because the change in constitution requires the approval of the people, the DILG is going to undertake a long period of campaigning up to the barangay level and we will be producing materials to let people understand better why federalism is important and why the president is pushing for a federal system," Malaya explained.

Once the consultative commission has finished its proposed constitution, and once the president has approved it, the DILG will also an conduct information drive to explain to the public this proposal.

Finally, once Congress has finalized the new constitution, Malaya said the DILG will lead the national campaign for the approval of the amendments to the new constitution.