DAGUPAN CITY – In an effort to raise public awareness about the administration’s proposal for a shift from unitary to a federal system of government, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Regional Office I, headed by Director James Fadrilan, conducted a regional roadshow on federalism at CSI Stadia from October 10 to 11.
As head of an inter-agency team tasked by the President to advocate for constitutional reform towards federalism, the DILG partnered with the city government and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) – Region I to conduct the roadshow.
Government officials, police personnel, media practitioners and sectoral groups from all over the Ilocos Region attended the two-day event to gain a better understanding and clarify misconceptions about the proposed federal system of government.
Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malay, Administrator of the Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform discussed the rationale of the federalism roadshow.
Secretary Gary Olivar of the Foundation for Economic Freedom shared the reasons why the country needs to shift from a unitary system to a federal system.
Eric de Torres, a professor from the University of the East explained the fundamentals of federalism and how the move will shift the country into a better state and perspective.
Meanwhile, Commissioners of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution Commodore Rex Robles, Atty. Susan Ordinario and Prof. Eddie Alih also served as panelists in all three main events.
Cmdre. Robles shared information on the country’s national territory, state policies and principles, foreign affairs, national security and public order and safety; while Atty. Ordinario gave an explanation on how the country would work under the new system, particularly in the structure and distribution of powers between the federal government and the federated regions, the constitutional bodies and public accountability; and Prof. Alih detailed the economic, social and political reforms, fiscal administration, and transitory provisions under the federal system.
All these topics were discussed in the three-part program as an effort to start a positive conversation about federalism with different sectors within the region.
A media forum was held for information officers and local media practitioners in the region on the first day to further intensify information dissemination and increase the public’s awareness on the new structure of government.
A Pederalismoserye Town Hall Meeting was held in the morning of the second day, with the meeting serving as a dialogue between various sectors in local communities by engaging all participants to join in the conversation about federalism. Here, multi-sectoral groups were able to raise their concerns and issues about the proposed Federal Constitution.
In the afternoon, a Federalism Convention was participated in by at least 3,000 delegates from different local governments, organizations, sectoral groups and other stakeholders in the region.
Some notable dignitaries who attended the event included Pangasinan Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, Jr. and mayors from various cities and municipalities in the region.
As host of the regional roadshow, Mayor Belen T. Fernandez expressed her support to the national government’s plan to transition into a federal system.
“Personally, I have heard the great promise of federalism as the answer to problems in our economy, our security, and peace and order. Like everybody else, Dagupan wants our country to move forward in accordance with the vision of our President.” said Fernandez.
Fernandez also said that the city will benefit from the federal system, as the decentralization of powers will empower local government units to implement laws and ordinances that are specifically designed for a city, municipality or region.
“This will help us better determine the needs of our people and how to address them.” added Fernandez.
Corollary to this, Mayor Fernandez received an award from DILG – ROI, commending her support for federalism by hosting the Federalism Roadshow Event for the region.
A symbolic signing of the Manifesto of Support for a Federal System of Government was held to formally close the event, with Mayor Fernandez and Vice Gov. Calimlim, Jr. personally signing their pledges to the manifesto. They were joined by other government officials and delegates. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)