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Bong Go backs calls for shift to federalism
Stresses importance of raising public awareness while ensuring it benefits Filipinos, not politicians
SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, on August 25, has expressed his support for calls to shift the country’s system of governance to federalism, as he emphasized the need to educate the Filipino people about its benefits.
In a manifestation during a public hearing conducted by the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Go underscored the importance of the Constitution.
“It is that which empowers public institutions, embodies fundamental regulations and principles, provides people’s rights and maintains law and order in the country,” explained the senator.
“It is the very backbone of society and equips us legislators with the basis for proposing and enacting laws, a power that is vital in addressing the needs and interests of the nation and our people,” he added.
However, Go noted that, remarkable as it is, the current Constitution contains provisions which are either outdated or are no longer helping the country “grow and advance alongside today’s most pressing concerns.”
One of the needed amendments, according to Go, is one that would allow a shift to federalism to promote more equitable regional development throughout the country.
“Halimbawa po sa pinag-uusapan ngayon ang pederalismo. Sa pederalismo, mas magiging mabilis ang pag-unlad dahil mas malaking bahagi ng income ng mga local governments mula sa kanilang mga likas na yaman ang maiiwan sa kanila,” said Go.
He added that regions will have greater autonomy and control under federalism, giving them the ability to solve their own problems and offer more appropriate and timely solutions.
“Magkakaroon ng dagdag at mas malawak na kontrol ang mga local officials sa pagresolba ng kanilang mga problema,” said Go.
“Mas magiging akma ang mga solusyon dahil mas alam nila ang puno’t dulo ng mga isyu, mas alam nila, mas kapa nila ang problema sa baba, mismo sa kanilang mga lugar. At mas magiging mabilis ang paghatid ng serbisyo, mas giginhawa ang bawat Pilipino,” he continued.
Go then expressed his support for the shift to a federal system, noting that former president Rodrigo Duterte also shared this vision.
“That is why I am one with our Chairman, Senator Robinhood Padilla, in his call to shift to federalism. Hindi naman po kaila sa atin na iyon po ang pinangarap ni dating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” said Go.
“Greater benefits of a stronger local government are ensured and lives of Filipinos are prioritized,” he added.
The goal and beauty of federalism, according to Go, is to preserve personal or regional liberties by distributing and allocating the powers of government so that one department or group may not dominate all powers. He said this will ensure that true participation and decision-making happen on the ground.
“Lahat dapat kasama, walang maiiwan,” Go stressed.
The senator, however, acknowledged the need to educate the people of the benefits of federalism to raise their awareness so that they can engage in a more fruitful participation.
“Isa po ‘yan sa pinangako ni (dating) pangulong Duterte noong umupo siya noong 2016, and even during 2014 sa kanyang tour around the country. ‘Yung tinatawag niyang Federalism Education Tour,” said Go.
“Talagang mahirap po ipaintindi, dapat i-explain ng mabuti sa mga kababayan natin kung ano po ang benepisyo ng federalism. Sa kakaikot ni (dating) pangulo, hindi pa rin tumatak kung ano ang magiging benepisyo ng federalism. Mas interesado pa nga po sila makinig sa mga sinasabi ni (dating) pangulo about peace and order, about ganito, sa iba’t ibang bagay,” recounted Go.
He continued, “Pero pag federalism na po ang pinag-uusapan, parang hindi sila masyadong interesado pakinggan, dahil hindi po na-explain ng mabuti, kung ano po ang benepisyo nito.”
“‘Yan po ang challenge ngayon, since 2016, ‘yun po ang isa sa pinangako niya, hindi pa din naisakatuparan ang federalism, dahil kelangan po talaga ipaintindi sa bawat Pilipino kung ano ang benepisyo ng federalism,” he added.
Go then asked committee chair Padilla to carry on Duterte’s efforts and better inform Filipinos of the advantages of federalism. He also pledged his assistance in the undertaking.
“So, sa ngayon po, nasa kamay na po ng ating Chairman ang pagpatuloy sa pagpapaintindi sa ating mga kababayan, kung ano ho ba ang maidudulot na kabutihan o tulong nitong federalism kung lilipat po tayo sa pederalismo,” said Go.
“Magtulungan lang po tayo, Mr. Chairman, kung papano po ipaintindi sa mga kababayan natin, dahil talagang dapat detalye po na maintindihan nila kung ano ang maidudulot nito para sa ating bayan,” he added.
Go then commended the initiatives of Padilla to review and study the 1987 Philippine Constitution, saying that lawmakers must always pursue whatever is the best for the country and the people.
“Kung gagalawin man po ang Constitution, dapat po ang makikinabang ang taong bayan. Dapat po ang Pilipino ang makikinabang dito, hindi po ang politiko,” concluded Go.