The House committee on constitutional amendments will begin on Friday its regional public information campaign on President Rodrigo Duterte’s advocacy to shift the presidential-unitary form of government to a parliamentary-federal system through a Constituent Assembly.
“Our massive information drive will start on Feb. 24 and will be held every Friday from thereon. This is to educate the people nationwide about the workings and benefits of federalism. We will be visiting Davao, Dagupan, Bacolod and Tacloban cities,” said Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, the panel chairman.
He said his panel has decided to put on the backseat the plenary debates on Charter Change.
Two authors of the Charter Change bills, Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Ray Villafuerte have expressed their full support to the information drive.
They also lauded the panel for relentlessly pushing for Cha-Cha amid its tight schedule as it also tackles measures aimed at reviving capital punishment.
“The problems plaguing the country, such as graft and corruption, poverty, insurgency, weak judiciary and others are due to our failure to restudy and revisit the Constitution,” Abu said.
“The proposed federalism would give us the chance to reexamine the provisions of our Constitution for fair distribution of the benefits of economic growth,” he added.
Villafuerte expressed hope that the executive and legislative branches could focus on Cha-Cha and federalism after the deliberations on the restoration of the death penalty.
“With the creation of the 25-member Constitutional Commission to revisit the 1987 Constitution and come up with proposed amendments for consideration by the Congress convening as Constituent Assembly, the executive and legislative branches could now put the federal switch on the fast lane,” he said.
He said the shift to a federal government is crucial to attracting foreign direct investments and accelerating growth in the countryside “since federalism alone could ensure full autonomy for provinces and cities in charting their growth paths, which, in turn, would foster healthy competition among the local governments in wooing investments from both foreign and local business groups.”