Reelectionist Senators JV Ejercito (right) and Juan Miguel Zubiri (left) jointly hold a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City Friday. They are the keynote speakers of the Mindanao-wide convention of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) here. photo by Gerry Lee Gorit
By MARK FRANCISCO
TWO reelectionist senators expressed reservations yesterday to hasten the administration’s continuing push to convert the country into a federal form of government.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said that based on the existing proposal pushed forward by the Consultative Committee (ConCom), only three regions in the country could sustain under a federal system.
“Huwag tayong magmadali. We need to study the version as recommended by ConCom. We cannot afford to make a mistake,” Ejercito said.
Even Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri is wary on the proposal.
Zubiri, who hails from Bukidnon, estimated that his home province could not sustain in the long run a federal system under the present proposal.
“We need to study it carefully. We need to study on how each federal state must be budgeted,” he pointed out.
Under ConCom’s proposal, there will be 18 federated regions composed of 16 symmetrical regions – existing regions plus the Negrosanon Federated Region and two assymetrical regions – Bangsamoro and Cordillera.
In 2018, President Duterte released ConCom’s draft for public feedback to help improve the proposal.
But majority of the senators, including Ejercito and Villar, said they will not prioritize talks on federalism after a September Pulse Asia survey found out that only three percent of Filipinos wanted the government to focus on federalism over economic concerns such as inflation.
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