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PIA Press Release

Baguio hosts Northern Luzon consultation on Cha-Cha

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (25 October) -- A consultation on Charter Change for Northern Luzon was held at the Baguio City Convention Center Friday, with Senator Aquilino Pimentel, co-author of Congress' Joint Resolution No. 10 - a proposal for the change in a Federal Government, as the main speaker.

Pimentel was joined in the panel by Chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Honorable Victor F. Ortega of the 2nd District of La Union, the Vice Chairman, Baguio Congressman Mauricio G. Domogan; Benguet Congressman Samuel Dangwa and Rep Cecile Luna of Abra.

The consultation was attended by various local government officials from regions 1, 2 and CAR, including Governors Nestor Fongwan of Benguet and Floydelia Diasen of Kalinga and Baguio City Mayor Peter Rey Bautista and vice mayor Daniel Fariņas.

Sen Pimentel explained that the two main objectives of their proposal are to address economic problems, so as to speed-up development and to dissipate the causes of unrest in the country. In a federal form of government, poverty, which is a major cause of unrest, can easily be addressed, he said. He also explained that a shift to a federal form of government does not mean that it can solve all of the country's problems, especially, corruption, but with federalism, the center of governance is spread into different federal states, wherein corruption is much easier to address.

One of the important proposals in the joint resolution the senator stressed, is the dispersal of the "Seats of Power" and equal distribution of governance, wherein the executive dept stays in Metro Manila, the Legislative Department will be transferred in Visayas and the Judiciary Department in Mindanao. Each Federal state will also be represented by an elected senator and each district will still elect a representative, as Congress remains bicameral.

Another important aspect of the proposal Pimentel pointed out, is bigger internal allotment share for each province and federal states, as the resolution is proposing a 20-80 sharing of the national taxes, compared to the present set-up of 40-60. In the proposed scheme, wherein 20% will go to the Federal government while 80% to the Federal states. For the share of the Federal state, 30% will go to the state government, while 70% will go to the province, cities, municipalities and barangay.

In a statement, Ortega explained that if we change our constitution, in whatever aspect, we should not expect that it will be a cure to all of our problems though he assured that it will help in addressing each problem more expeditiously.

He also pointed out that, it is not Congress and not a convention, who will decide for a change in the constitution, but each of us, as citizens, who will decide on this through a plebiscite. (PIA) [top]

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