- Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel elaborated the causes of the projected shift to federalism during the meeting of the Philippine Constitutional Association (PHILCONSA) at the Manila Polo Club last Monday, July 11.
- According to him, the centralization of powers and consequently the unlikely passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) necessitated the proposed change in the government of the Philippines
- Senator Pimentel is one of the politicians who worked towards the goal of balancing the distribution of governmental powers which are highly-concentrated in Metro Manila
Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel explained what brought about the need to shift the present unitary form of government to a federalist one.
Having in mind the goal to disperse powers that are highly-concentrated in the hands of the Metro Manila government, the former senator passed the Local Government Code.
According to him, the code largely affected only the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Agriculture. Despite the attempt to give powers to the local government units, the greatly centralized and unitary feature of the government still persists.
“The highly centralized, unitary system resulted in an imbalance in the distribution of resources among LGUs. Impliedly, it has fueled the armed rebellion of Muslim factions in parts of Mindanao against the government and has hampered the speedy development of the local communities and the people residing therein,” Mr. Pimentel said.
Just like the pronouncement of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno who focused his earlier discussion on federalism on the issue of judicial powers, Mr. Pimentel said that the genesis of this proposed change in government is caused by the unlikely passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“The BBL has the best of intentions. Any attempt in our country to achieve peace is good, except for the fact that the BBL also has to consider that we have our Constitution. Therefore, any attempt to make a proposal must jive with Constitution. It cannot be otherwise,” he said, referring to the BBL as the Tower of Babel.
He added that in the adoption of federalism, the government should consider what would be suitable to our culture and tradition.
“It cannot be that we would just copy because otherwise, the struggle of the Muslim people in Mindanao will continue,” he said.
The senator supports the projected shift to a new form of government as one of the main political agendas of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and perceives it to be a concrete, doable, and practical plan. - Kami Media