By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III vowed to continue the administration party’s efforts in raising the awareness of Filipinos on federalism.
This, after the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed that only 25 percent of Filipino adults nationwide said they know about the federal system of government, and only 37 percent agreed to it.
“Tuloy-tuloy lang ang pagpapaliwanag sa konsepto ng federalismo (We will countinue explaining to the public the concept of federalism),” Pimentel, president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said in a text message Friday.
The PDP-Laban, chaired by President Duterte, has been pushing for the government’s shift from a unitary system to federal. The Chief Executive had promised to initiate this within his term.
Pimentel, however, maintained that the dismal agreement to federalism, as the SWS’ March survey revealed, does not mean that Filipinos do not accept it.
“Survey says many don’t know about federalism. It does not say they don’t like it. But how can someone like something one doesn’t even know about? Hence massive info drive is the solution to the ‘don’t know’ situation we are in right now,” Pimentel explained.
He added that the survey result would not affect the party’s campaign for the proposed shift to a federal government, since they have yet to finalize a timeline for it.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed with Pimentel, noting that federalism is difficult to understand.
“Our people cannot agree or disagree to something they are uncertain of…Hindi talaga madali maintindihan ang mga intricacies ng federalism,” Sotto, an ally of the President, said in a separate message.
According to Pimental, the PDP-Laban is currently focused on explaining federalism to the public, particularly thru its seminars for new party members.
While faced with “limited resources” such as on time, manpower and fund, Pimentel said the party will continue with its information drive.
For Sotto, a massive information campaign focusing on the salient features of federalism would help. The government, he proposed, should adopt a “broadcast media” style of campaign to entice the public.
“[It should be] Broadcast media-style. otherwise, boring ang dating (it would be boring),” he suggested.