April 23, 2008
PIMENTEL FILES RESOLUTION ON FEDERAL SYSTEM
CARMONA, CAVITE -- Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said he has completed the draft of a resolution calling on Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the adoption of a federal system to replace the highly-centralized unitary system of government.
Pimentel said the federalization of the republic is meant to accomplish two main goals: 1. Cause the speedy development of the entire country by unleashing the forces of competitiveness among the component federal states, and 2. Dissipate the causes of rebellion in the country, particularly in Mindanao.
"The federal proposal will hopefully provide a just and lasting redress of the grievances of the powerless and the neglected sectors of society, like the Moro peoples of Mindanao," the opposition senator said in a keynote address at the seminar on federalism hereunder the auspices of the UP Center for Local and Regional Governance/National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP CLRG/NCPAG) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Manila Southwoods, Golf Country Club, Carmona, Cavite.
Under the 63-page resolution, Pimentel proposed the creation of 11 federal states out of the existing political subdivisions of the country, and one federal administrative region.
To be established are the federal states of Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Bicol and Southern Tagalog in Luzon; the federal states of Minparom (Mindoro-Palawan-Romblon-Marinduque), Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas and Western Visayas in the Visayas and the federal states Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Bangsamoro in Mindanao.
Metro Manila will be converted into a federal administrative region along the lines of Washington D.C. in the United States, New Delhi in India or Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
"The move to federalize the country is not simply a 'political' undertaking. It is also an economic effort. By creating 11 federal states and by converting Metro Manila as a federal administrative region, we immediately establish 12 centers of power, finance and development throughout the country," Pimentel said.
In contrast, he said that under the existing unitary system that has characterized the government for centuries, the country had only one center of power, finance and development - Metro Manila.
Pimentel said the boundaries of the federal states will cut across the present regional boundaries. He said he has recommended that the component states be constituted out of bigger political territories to provide the environment for competitiveness and sustainability rather than create states and provinces that in many instances might simply be too small to survive as a state.
The resolution defines the territory of the proposed Federal Republic of the Philippines and unequivocally includes the Scarborough Shoal as part of Central Luzon and the Kalayaan Islands as part of the Minparom region.
Pimentel said the resolution disperses the seats of power of the three major branches of government. Thus, the executive department will hold offices in the Federal Administrative Region of Metro Manila, the legislative department in the Federal State of Central Visayas and the judicial department in the Federal State of Northern Mindanao.
"By doing so, the two other geographical regions of the country, the Visayas and Mindanao will now fully appreciate that they are important parts, and merely appendices - of the Republic," he said.
In terms of allocating the resources of the Republic, Pimentel said a formula is provided in the resolution: 30 percent will go to the Federal Government and 70 percent to the component states. Of the 70 percent accruing to the states, 30 percent will go to the state governments and 70 percent to the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.
The resolution will require the revision of 14 of the existing 18 Articles of the Constitution and the addition of two new Articles. It was prepared by Pimentel upon the request of some of his colleagues in the Senate and House of Representative, some local government officials and friends from the non-government organization sector.