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PIA Press Release

PGMA forms panel to draft roadmap to federalism by 2012

Manila (15 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said this morning that she will create a panel to draft a "Roadmap to Federalism by 2012" and eventually revise the country's Constitution, two years after she bows out of office.

The panel will include the secretaries of the Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Justice (DOJ), Presidential Management Staff (PMS), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Also joining the panel are "leaders of the local government units (LGUs), Congress allies, and maybe even pro-federalism opposition leaders."

The President announced the formation of the federalism roadmap panel in her address before the regional workshop on the Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Asia at the Traders Hotel along Roxas Blvd. in Pasay City.

She said the federalism measures could include super-region planning and oversight bodies with officials and staff from the Regional Development Councils (RDCs), and national agencies.

These officials, she added, would "draw up programs and projects up to a stipulated amount, for inclusion in the 2009 general appropriations."

The other measures to be drawn up by the panel are legislations to affirm and expand executive issuances, and "eventually Charter change."

The President also said she has instructed concerned government agencies to "address worries and difficulties over food prices, fares and overseas Filipino worker remittances."

Under her instructions, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will devise measures to moderate the prices of flour and sugar, in consultation with industry and retail associations, producers, distributors and retailers.

DTI was also directed to consider "revenue-neutral tariff adjustments similar to those being applied to oil."

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Energy (DoE) were directed to coordinate assistance measures to public-utility vehicles, including more discount gas stations, revenue-neutral adjustments on oil tariffs, and fast-track/expand social services and benefits for the public transport sector.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance (DoF) was tasked to calculate the adjustments on oil tariffs.

Also mobilized by the President to address people's concern over food prices, transport charges and OFW remittances were the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and NEDA.

The two agencies were directed to assess the impact of the strong peso on the remittances and families of OFWs, and devise measures to moderate and cope with the difficulties brought about by the strong performance of the country's currency vis--vis the American dollar.

The possible measures to address the OFWs' plight is the lowering of remittance fees and supplemental income-generating activities. The DOF and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are already working on the possible reduction of remittance fees, the President said. (OPS) [top]

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