Saturday, April 26, 2008

11 senators want Charter change for federal system

By Veronica Uy -
Eleven senators say they want Congress convened into a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution to establish a federal system of government.

"Now, therefore, be it resolved as it is hereby resolved by the Senate with the House of Representatives concurring, upon a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of both Houses voting separately, to convene Congress into a constituent assembly pursuant to Section 1, paragraph 1 of Article XVII of the Constitution, and revise the Constitution for the purpose of adopting a federal system of government that will create 11 States, constitute Metro-Manila as the Federal Administrative Region, and convert the nation into the Federal Republic of the Philippines," Senate Joint Resolution No. 10 said.

The resolution was introduced by Senate President Manuel Villar and Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Francis Escudero, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, and Ramon Revilla Jr.

The 11 senators want to create the following 11 states or centers of finance and development: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Minparom (Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon), Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and BangsaMoro (Moro Nation).

The resolution noted that "the highly centralized system of government has brought about a spotty development of the nation where preferential treatment has been given to localities whose officials are friendly with or have easy access to an incumbent administration."

"[This] lopsided arrangement has spawned a host of problems including massive nationwide poverty to runaway insurgencies and rebellions that feed on the societal inequalities in the nation," it added.

Pimentel, the principal proponent of the resolution, said going federal would disperse political and economic power and solve many of the country's problems, including the decades-long rebellion in Mindanao.

"The 63-page resolution requires the revision of 14 of the existing 18 Articles of the Constitution and the addition of two new Articles. To use the more picturesque terms of surgeons, the revision requires an invasive surgery into the constitutional structure of our body politic," he said.

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