By Chito Chavez
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexie Nograles called on the electorate to vote for pro-federalism candidates in the May 2019 2019 mid-term elections citing the benefits the people would get from this form of government.
Nograles issued the call during his speech at the National Federalism Summit organized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently.
He also called on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform (IATF-FCR) to continue the advocacy campaign for federalism and to finish harmonizing the Bayanihan Federalism charter crafted by the Consultative Committee chaired by Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
The Cabinet official said that the Palace wants the harmonized draft charter to be submitted to the next Congress following the upcoming mid-term elections this May.
“I, therefore, urge the IATF led by the DILG to continue its public awareness campaign and to work with the Consultative Committee so that we will have a harmonized draft constitution to submit to the next Congress,” said Nograles.
Former Supreme Court Justice Eduardo Nachura, also a ConCom Member, echoed Nograles’ call saying that “If you ask me, there are 23 members of the ConCom who are willing to go on stage and declare that we will not vote for any candidate who will not support federalism.”
“We are willing to go public on this. We are willing to go on record and even now I am saying that I will certainly not vote for anyone who does not support federalism,” said Nachura.
DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya expressed confidence that President Duterte will endorse to Congress the harmonized draft Bayanihan Federal Constitution proposed by the Consultative Committee during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Our target is by the time the President delivers his SONA, he will endorse the harmonized Bayanihan Federalism charter to Congress,” said Malaya.
“The President’s guidance to us is to continue pushing for the Bayanihan Federal Constitution and to harmonize it with the comments and inputs from our consultations. In this regard, we will be working closely with the Concom,” he added.
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno likewise urged the people not to mind the draft constitution of the House of Representatives.
“The House version (of constitutional reform) will die a natural death because pag tapos ng elections, mag-iiba na ang composition ng Kongreso. So let us not be unduly disturbed by the House version. Isulong pa rin natin ang Bayanihan Federalism,” said Puno.
Since the conduct of the regional roadshows for federalism in 2018, the DILG has been working with the members of the Concom and the member agencies of the IATF in incorporating the feedback and suggestions on the Bayanihan Federalism model that Concom penned.
Aside from the information drive and the harmonization of the draft charter, the DILG will conduct consultations with the different government agencies to prepare them for a federal shift in case federalism wins during the plebiscite.
The DILG will likewise assist in the organization of coalitions, create radio and television shows on federalism, arrange cluster workshops on federalism, train accredited civil society organizations to become advocates, and conduct more town hall meetings and consultations with the basic sectors.