After the President State of the Nation Address, marching orders have been called.
The Presidents political party the PDP Laban is spearheading this movement.
Jonathan Malaya, of the PDP Laban Federalism Institute, who has extensive exposure to the workings ofÂ different federal nations has shared the blueprint that will help navigate the strategy to head towards the goal of a federal Philippines.
In laying down the party agenda, Jon has laid the following:
The proposal to shift to a parliamentary-federal system of government has been revived under the Duterte Administration.
Having ran on a platform of federalism, peace and order, anti-drugs and anti-corruption, the President is now pushing to have the Constitution amended early in his term and to have the transition to a federal system done before he steps down. In fact, during his first SONA before the Joint Session of Congress, the President offered to step down the moment the federal republic is inaugurated.
PDP Laban, on the other hand, has always been an advocate of federalism. Founded by Senator Nene Pimentel, one of the foremost federalists in the country, PDP Laban has enshrined federalism in its party constitution way back when it was founded in 1982 during the dark days of Martial rule in the country.
Since then, PDP Laban has been at the forefront of promoting decentralization and devolution of powers to local governments as means of spreading development and progress across the country.
The President has directed PDP Laban to lead the campaign towards a federal republic and the party has built a coalition in the Senate and in the House of Representatives towards this goal under the leadership of Senate President Koko Pimentel, party president, and Speaker Bebot Alvarez, party secretary general.
The party has also created a Federalism Institute dedicated to the study and advocacy of federalism in the country.
Now that federalism and constitutional reform in general are now high on the governmentâ€™s agenda, it is about time that we go beyond broad strokes and basic concepts and go into the details of the proposed federal-parliamentary system of government for the Philippines.
There is a compelling need to â€œunpackâ€ federalism into bite size topics for study, discussion and consultation.
The final objective of this process is to produce a federal-parliamentary model for our country that is viable, sustainable and participatory.
What needs to be done is to develop a comprehensive proposal on the system of government best suited to our country.
This movement seeks to engage scholars and experts to produce policy recommendations and studies in support of the advocacy.
Viewed as significant is to consult and deliberate with the public, through key stakeholders, on how best to move forward.
Also significant is to popularize and deepen public understanding of federalism as an alternative and effective political and public administration system for our country.
Ultimately the goal is to build a national consensus behind the advocacy.
Jon Malaya, said various activities have been lined up between now and the end of the year to come up with a clearer direction on the specific kind of federal government that will have to be proposed to be adopted in the country. (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)