Manila Times - Shift to federal system possible, Marcos says

News & Interviews
15 June 2015

By Jefferson Antiporda | The Manila Times

The-Manila-Times-NetMoves to change the form of government to a federal system may have a good chance of succeeding if a proposal is pushed during the early part of the term of the next president, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.

Marcos, who is supportive to federalism plans, believes that a federal system could be the answer to socio-economic and social problems plaguing the country, particularly in Mindanao.

“If the next president will do that (push for Charter change) he or she has to do it very early on—start the process on the first year (of his/her term), not on the last. That would at least allay suspicions this is being done to extend his or her term. So that’s a possibility,” the senator explained.

He said federalism is in theory a good option because it spreads power centers so that if there is a problem in one area it would not affect the entire country.

“Besides, there is recognition that each area is different, with different needs and concerns, and with different assets and capabilities. So you have to treat each one differently, and the best people to determine what is needed in that locality are the people living there,” the senator pointed out.

“So I think it’s time to revisit the concept and see if it would be the one best suited for the Philippines,” Marcos said.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has been pushing for federalism, saying it can be an alternative in case Congress fails to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The House of Representatives and Senate have yet to pass their respective versions of the BBL bill.

Marcos is currently drafting a substitute measure that he said will cure the defects in the Palace-sponsored bill.

The change to a federal form of government, Marcos said, can be done by amending the Constitution, not though Constitutional Assembly like what the House of Representatives is pushing.

Marcos said the most acceptable method of Charter change would be through a Constitutional Convention where delegates are elected by the public.

“So at least those who want to be delegates can campaign and tell the people what their plans are if they are elected. In this way, it would be clear to the public what to expect from their delegates,” he explained.