Press Release
July 22, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said he will pursue the proposal in Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the shift from a unitary to a federal system of government.

Pimentel said he will suggest that the adoption of federalism be done during the next three years but not necessarily immediately since there are many things that should be put in place before the new system can properly work.

"That takes time. But it is better to begin the debate so that the people will understand what it is all about," he said.

"We will look for a suitable way to amend the Constitution. It need not be through the people's initiative that the Arroyo administration had tried before. It may be through a Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly."

Pimentel said it is incorrect to say that the proposed federalization of the country is meant only to solve the centuries-old Moro secessionist wars.

"No doubt the federal system will dissipate the causes of Moro unrest but it will also bring about peace and development for the entire country," he said.

The senator from Mindanao explained that the devolution of certain powers and resources from the central government to the local governments under a federal set-up means that "we cut off the umbilical cord of dependence that characterizes the relationship between the central government and the local governments."

Pimentel has proposed the creation of 10 federal states - four in Luzon, three in the Visayas and three in Mindanao, including the BangsaMoro Federal State.

The adoption of a federal system, he said, would further strengthen local governance and enable the autonomous federal states to unleash their potentials for economic development.

Pimentel also expressed the belief that the establishment of as federal system will provide an effective solution to the rampant electoral fraud that has bedeviled every election in the Muslim provinces in Mindanao that has earned for the region the unsavory title "cheating capital of the Philippines."

"I think one of the major effects of the adoption of a federal system, especially if a BangsaMoro Federal State is created, is that all these controversies that are hounding our electoral process will be localized and solved among themselves, rather than operators coming from Manila going to the troubled areas and take advantage of the cupidity of some people there and thwart the will of the people in the process," he said.

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