17July

“Federalism maybe the key to finally achieve peace in Mindanao”– Alvarez 

Presumptive House Speaker  said yesterday, July 17 that, “The federal system of government that President Rodrigo Duterte envisions for the nation may be the key in finally achieving peace in war-torn Mindanao and would also speed up the attainment of inclusive economic growth, which will reduce poverty in urban areas and the countryside, the Philippine Star said in its report today, July 18.

“Federalism will allow the autonomous regions to realize their full economic potentials as self-governing units that are directly answerable to their respective constituents,” he said.

Each autonomous region would be “allowed to bloom with respect to, among other areas, its economy, culture and religion,” he added. “There will be less room for strife”, Alvarez further said as quoted by the Star.

He pointed out that once a federal system of government is in place, there would be no need for a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) “because Muslim Mindanao will already have its own autonomous region co-existing with other autonomous regions.”

Meanwhile, several civil society organization in Mindanao are pushing for the implementation of the original version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before shifting to a federal form of government and make it a template for other regions once it succeeds. 

“As for fear that poor regions like the Samar-Leyte provinces may suffer from federalism, we will assure the people that we have devised a plan wherein such provinces shall be grouped with better performing provinces in order to help them strive and attain a better performing region,” Alvarez said.

Even prior to assuming the presidency, President Duterte had pronounced his plan of shifting to federal form of government with the hope that it would solve peace and order problems in Mindanao.

During the celebration of Hari Raya Eidl Fitr in Davao City attended by several Muslim political and religious leaders, Duterte said that “if the people reject federalism, he would pursue the enactment of the proposed BBL, which the last Congress failed to pass”.

Alvarez has filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, which calls for the convening of an elected constitutional convention (con-con) that would propose amendments to the Constitution to shift the nation to the federal system.

Alvarez is eyeing the approval of his con-con resolution by December this year so the convention could be elected early next year.

Under his proposal, he said no member of the House of Representatives, the Senate or local official would be allowed to run as a con-con delegate unless he resigns from his post.

The delegates would also be prohibited from representing any political party or group, or whatever group of any nature, he said.