MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari need not worry about President Duterte’s promise to deliver on the shift in the form of government since the federalism campaign is on track, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said yesterday.
“There is still time to get this off the ground so Misuari shouldn’t worry. We hope that Misuari will instead help the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) advocate for federalism among our people so that more people will understand why federalism is needed,” Malaya said.
Misuari in a meeting with Duterte at the Palace said he would “go to war” if Duterte fails to make good his promise to shift to a federal form of government.
The DILG however said that the government’s advocacy for the change has never wavered and that it is now working with other government agencies in finalizing the details of the Bayanihan Federalism model developed by the Consultative Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution.
According to Malaya, the IATF on Federalism and Constitutional Reform (IATF) led by Secretary Eduardo Año and its 10 clusters or committees have been regularly meeting for the past several months in preparation for the opening of the new Congress in June of this year.
“The IATF expects to finish its work by June of this year and we hope to work closely with the new Members of Congress to have this approved during the second half of the President’s term,” he said.
Apart from the DILG, the IATF is composed of the Department of Justice, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Department of National Defense, Civil Service Commission, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Presidential Management Staff, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Commission on Higher Education, Development Academy of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Law Center, the Department of Finance, among others.
“Federalism, as we all know, is a complex matter. It’s a change in how we are governed. The devil is in the details. So, I think we have to give government more time to iron out the details. And that’s what we have been doing recently,” Malaya said.
In the meantime, the DILG has been working with civil society organizations, NGOs, and National Government Agencies preparing for the resumption of the advocacy campaign.