ZAMBOANGA CITY, Sept. 27 (PIA) — One thing that opinion leaders agree upon is that if ever the country will finally shift to a federal form of government, local leaders will really have to work hard given the regional autonomy and burden of responsibility.
In a media interaction here on September 25, Engr. Moh. Ali Urao, coordinator for Kilusang Pagbabago-LEAD organization believes political leaders in a federal state will have no choice but to “work hard, or face the consequences.”.
Urao, who has support from a vast network of Muslim Students Associations (MSAs), is optimistic that with the right information, more and more people will be inclined in favor of this proposed change of government.
“Yung mga traditional politicians, mawawala mga yan,” he stressed. (These traditional politicians will be gone.)
In the proposed federal government, more power will be given to the regions as opposed to the current centralized government. The idea grew from President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to end “imperialist Manila”, and once and for all bring more prosperity to all of the country’s regions. The resource-rich regions, much like the states in the United States will have greater control of their own revenues and income, thus giving more opportunities to build up their own economy and infrastructure, among others.
“One thing about this current form of government is we, the regions pay big shares from our own revenues to fund projects in Luzon that we do not actually use because we are in Mindanao,” Urao said.
On the other hand, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform Executive Director Ramon Casiple believes federal leaders are more sensitive to the problems their regions face, and will be more effective in addressing them, rather than waiting for the national government’s support.
“The regional leaders have more power and given that, they are more sensitive to their own problems, and they will know what the best courses of action are to address said problems,” Casiple said.
In the draft proposal, Casiple explained, there are no changes with the current regional setup, however, there has to be at least one growth center for each region. Provinces within a region will have to co-share resources and purchase goods and services from each other in order to grow by themselves.
Meanwhile, Department of Interior and Local Government assistant regional director Edward Bhagwani announced there will be more engagements with different sectors on federalism.
“We will be gathering people’s insights and recommendations along the way. This is a long process, but we have to make the people know what the pros and cons are of federalism.” (EDT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)
Source: PIA Feed