Albay leaders favor federalism
Legazpi City (13 February) -- At the PIA Kapihan sa Legazpi City, Albay leaders and private sector representatives have agreed that federalism as a system of government is an effective vehicle for change.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda led the group of panelists which also had in attendance representatives from the media, academe, business and local government unit executives.
During the discussion, Salceda proposed a system that would solve the problem of the disbursement of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and the contestability of public resources and; a move towards the autonomy of the regions, or provinces.
Mayor Cicero Ching Triumfante of Daraga, Albay, supported the forum and said that public discussion of the merits of federalism is a laudable activity and that it makes the people better decision makers. Both Salceda and Triumfante supported the efforts in explain said topic being openly discussed in a similar forum in order to educate the public on the nuances of governance and hopefully might lead to a better (government) system that would improve people's participation and accountability of public officials.
Former Albay Vice Gov. James Calisin, and ULAP consultant, discussed at length the merits of the federal-parliamentary system as proposed by ULAP but said that his representation in the forum was a personal initiative.
Lito Tuanqui, past president and former director of the Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Divine, said that the business sector in the province and the rest of the Bicol Region needs to tackle the basic issues of power supply and the right moves to assure the right environment for business and investment.
Tuanqui said that a federal system would solve the age-old problem of revenues having been generated by large companies in the provinces but whose taxes are paid to their head offices in Manila. "We feel that a federal system (of government) would solve this anomaly", he stressed. Also showing their support to the discussion in a brief presence at the panel in said forum were Governors Sally Perez of Antique and Telesporo Castillejo of Batanes.
Perez said she has initiated similar discussions in her province and would support moves to strengthen fiscal and political position of the local government units.
Gov. Castillejo also stated similar concern for his northern province. They were visiting with Gov. Salceda in Legazpi City before the start of the League of Governors of the Philippines National Convention in Pili, Camarines Sur.
Also among the panelist was Rolando Manaig, political science professor of the College of Arts and Sciences of the Divine Word college of Legazpi. Said topic would be presented in similar for a in the five other provinces in Bicol.
But Sorsogon Gov. Sally a Lee, jumped the gun on everyone when she presented a formal document supporting federalism to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during one of her frequent visits in Bicol last year. (PIA-MMIO) [top]