Press Release
October 16, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today challenged the Arroyo government to carry out an honest-to-goodness campaign for the adoption of a federal system to address the age-old problems of over concentration of powers in Metro Manila and misallocation of the country's wealth among the various regions that have caused discontent and political discord.

Pimentel said that he shares the suspicions of many people that the interest shown by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the federalism idea is a ploy to divert attention from her present political troubles.

"Because GMA is like the Greeks bearing gifts (represented by the Trojan Horse), we in the opposition should always be wary of dealing with her," Pimentel said in response to the President's directive to form a team that would draw a road map towards a federal system by 2012.

"In any event, because my advocacy of federalism started long before GMA became president and transcends political consideration or differences, the idea that it should now be discussed is acceptable to me."

However, Pimentel said his acceptance of discussing the federalism proposal should be clearly understood that it:

1. does not mean our compromising the opposition stand against corruption in government, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and the like that mar the record of the present administration;

2. does not mean our ending the investigations into the ZTE, cyber-ed, and other anomalies in government;

3. does not mean our agreeing to any ploy that will extend GMA's hold on power in government even after her term is over;

4. means that we, in the opposition, will continue to advance the welfare of our people against anyone who stands in the way, including GMA and her cohorts; and that includes our continuing opposition to the misuse of people's initiative to bring about changes in the Constitution;

5. means that we agree to have the issue of federalism discussed with our people all over the land so that they will understand what it is all about; and

6. means that we believe that federalism will help bring about peace and development to the country and end the secessionist Moro wars in Mindanao and hopefully, the New People Army's armed struggle also.

Pimentel said the shift from the present highly-centralized unitary system to a federal system of government is a long and difficult process that should be undertaken as early as possible without being hampered by any partisan wrangling or selfish ambitions of political leaders.

The senator from Mindanao has been spearheading the move towards federalism to foster greater national unity, to hasten the country's economic development and to provide the ultimate political solution to the decades-old Muslim insurgency problem.

News Latest News Feed