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Federalism and Con-Ass consultations start

February 24 - March 3, 2017

Members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Constitutional Amendments have started their nationwide campaign in consulting and informing the public regarding the possibility of a constituent assembly (con-ass) as the mode of amending the 1987 Constitution, to shift from the presidential to a federal form of government.

Southern Leyte Representative Roger Mercado, chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, informed the press that the “Con-Ass Caravan” has already started public consultations in Dagupan City last February 24.

“We’re going out to different regions to consult the people. We want to inform the public about the advantages and disadvantages of federalism and what specifics they prefer,” Mercado ended.

The caravan’s goal is to make the public aware of the plan of the lower house of congress to convene as a conass.

The committee composed of different congressmen will also be visiting the cities of Bacolod, Davao and Tacloban.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte informed the press that he favors the con-ass because it is the cheaper mode to shift to a federal type of government, compared to a constitutional convention.

If approved, a federal type of government would make provinces into autonomous government units, that will be respectively responsible for their own laws, government and business. The national government will be left to deal with matters of nationwide scope and importance.

Meanwhile, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., one of the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, which drafted the 1987 Constitution, is against revising the Constitution and the shift to federalism.

"Federal system of government is definitely not suited for our country and our people of this generation and even of the succeeding generations," Davide said.

The issue of charter change is expected to be taken up in congress when it resumes session this coming May 2.(By MARK L. RIMAS)






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