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House resolution supports change in form of government

May 7, 2008 7:07am
MANILA, Philippines - The move to change the form of government to federal from unitary has gained support from the House of Representatives.

Bacolod Rep. Monico O. Puentevella Tuesday filed House Concurrent Resolution 15 which supported the initiative of Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., author of Joint Resolution 10 that has been backed by 16 senators.

Unlike the Pimentel proposal calling for the convening of Congress as a Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution, Mr. Puentevella included the option of holding a constitutional convention. The people’s initiative mode was not included.

"Since people’s initiative remains a debatable constitutional issue, the resolution leaves it to the wisdom of the members of both Houses of Congress to choose between Constitutional Convention and Constituent Assembly as the mode of revising the Constitution," Mr. Puentevella said in a statement.

He noted that under the present setup, power, finance, and development is concentrated in "imperial" Manila.

He added this has resulted in unequal development, widespread poverty, and insurgencies and rebellions "that feed on the societal inequalities in the nation."

Mr. Puentevella said the proposed equalization fund will level the development in all federal states.

He added that changes to the Charter, if approved, will take effect after the 2010 presidential elections to allay fears that the shift in form of government will prolong the terms of office of incumbent officials.

Mr. Puentevella said in his explanatory note to the resolution, "The federalization of the Republic would speed up the development of the entire nation and help dissipate the causes of insurgency throughout the land, particularly the centuries-old Moro rebellions." - BusinessWorld
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