The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) stands by the Consultative Committee’s (ConCom) proposed federal constitution in light of a new draft federal constitution submitted by the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments.
According to DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya, there are marked differences between the two drafts and that the political and electoral reforms in Concom’s draft are “necessary ingredients” for federalism to succeed.
As such, the DILG fully endorses Concom’s proposal for a self-executing anti-political dynasty provision in the federal constitution which will open up and democratize the country’s electoral process.
“We appreciate the effort of the House of Representatives to fast-track deliberations on the proposed reforms in our Constitution so we could realize President Duterte's agenda of a shift to the federal system of government but we ask the House not to sacrifice the political and electoral reforms that our country urgently needs,” says Malaya.
He further adds that it is not clear to them why the vice president is proposed to be removed from the order of succession when the House seeks to maintain the presidential system and not shift to a parliamentary system.
Malaya also said that the existing term limits must be respected so that the people would not question the motives behind the President's push for a federal system.
He also said that the ConCom's recommendation to adopt a proportional representation as possible replacement to the party list system should merit serious consideration by the House.
The DILG thus hopes that the present Senate and the House of Representatives could still convene as a constituent assembly to debate on the proposed ConCom amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
“We ask both the Senate and the House to fully consider all the features of the draft submitted by the Concom to President Duterte. It's the product of a non-partisan body with no vested interests,” says Malaya.
He particularly points out the expanded provision on the Bill of Rights of every Filipino which grants third generation rights such that previous Constitutions have ignored.
Article III includes a provision on environmental and ecological rights to the future generation of Filipinos through the protection and preservation of a healthy and clean environment.
“We hope that because of the continuing action by the two chambers of Congress, we shall finally see a new Constitution that embodies our yearning for a modern and vibrant Philippines,” says Malaya.
The Concom was formed with the task to review the 1987 Constitution and draft a proposal amending it, the end result is the proposed Bayanihan Federal Constitution tailored to fit the needs of Filipinos.
Federalism is one of President Duterte’s promises for lasting change in the country and aims to reduce inequality, uphold democracy, and free the regions from the monopoly of the central government as well as political dynasties.
“As we undergo the process of amending our Constitution, we firmly believe that putting in place a federal system will give full impetus to regional economic and social development by bringing the government closer to the people. Malapit nagobyerno, dama angserbisyo, ‘yan ang Pederalismo,” says Malaya.