Press Release
July 9, 2018

Koko: Informed Citizenry Key to Public Acceptance of Federalism

With the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution (ConCom) set to submit the draft charter to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Sunday said that the subsequent regional consultations to be conducted by the ConcCom would result in a better understanding of federalism and result in greater public acceptance of the proposed shift to to a federal form of government.

Pimentel-President of PDP-Laban and one of federalism's most vocal advocates-said he was encouraged by surveys that show that over half of respondents who were aware of federalism and had previously heard of this system of government were more supportive of the adoption of federalism.

In a survey conducted by Social Weather Stations from March 23 to 27, 57% of respondents who stated that they had knowledge about federalism agree with the adoption of a federal system of government, while only 22% did not support its adoption. Twenty percent were undecided.

"I believe the numbers make it clear that those who know more about federalism are more likely to support its adoption. With the draft constitution now finished, we can now have a real discussion about the proposed amendments to the Constitution, particularly the shift to federalism," said the legislator.

Pimentel was optimistic that the more the public learned about the distinct features of federalism, the more it would be willing to embrace the changes this system of government willl bring.

"It is natural for many of our countrymen to fear what they do not understand, to resist change and the unknown. Iba talaga itong federalism sa nakasanayan nila. (Federalism is really different from what they are used to.) But if they see that these changes will benfit them, then they will be more open to them," Pimentel stressed.

In the same survey conducted by SWS, only one out of four respondents said they were knowledgable about federalism. Overall, 29% disagree with the shift to federalism, a figure lower than the 37% who agree with the proposed shift, as well as the 34% who are undecided about the issue.

The Cagayan De Oro native said that knowledge about federalism and its benefits was what fueled support for it in Mindanao, where 59% of those polled expressed support for the adoption of federalism, with only 16% opposed to the shift.

"This is an issue close to the heart of Mindanaonons-matagal na namin napag-uusapan yan (we have been discussing this for a long time)-so there is greater awareness of federalism and a greater recognition of what it can do to bring peace and stability to the region." explained Pimentel.

After submitting the draft constitution to the President on Monday, Malacañang will be given the opportunity to review the document and give the ConCom its inputs while the ConCom conducts regional consultations. Afer input from the Palace and the consultations are incorporated into the draft constitution, the President is expected to endorse the document to Congress during his State of the Nation Address on July 23.

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