Federalism bucked

OPPOSITION leader Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman urged incoming members of Congress to turn down change of government to federalism.

In a press conference, Lagman expressed strong opposition to federalism especially if it is done through Constituent Assembly or Con-ass.

According to Lagman, with the majority of administration allies have won the elections, it would be easier for the legislature to give in to the request of the President.

“Opposition to Con-Ass and federalism must relentlessly continue. This resistance must carry over to the incoming 18th Congress,” Lagman said.

“A strong argument, if not the strongest, against constituting the House of Representatives and the Senate into a constituent assembly is that the supermajority solons will convert the constituent assembly into a virtual rubber stamp of President Rodrigo Duterte,” he added.

The veteran solon added that the subservience to the administration which is now happening in the House will certainly happen in the projected Constituent Assembly composed of the supermajority blindly allied with the President.

Lagman  stressed that the undue haste in shifting from the unitary to the federal system of government will further deteriorate the economy.

“Alacrity could spell disaster,” he further said.

NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia has publicly shared his assessment on the country’s lack of preparedness for a shift to federalism because: (1) majority of our regions are fiscally ill-prepared, (2) implementing it before we are ready will be detrimental to economic growth; and (3) it may shred the country’s balance sheet and could have negative implications for public finances.

The latest surveys from the country’s top pollsters reveal that:  only 25 percent of Filipinos are aware of the proposed adoption of the federal system (SWS) and a whopping 70 percent of Filipinos have no knowledge or awareness of the federal form (Pulse Asia).

Lack of popular support for Con-Ass and the shift to federalism is indelible in the people’s apathy for and unawareness of these faltering initiatives, Lagman added.