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Federal system a boon to poor provinces

The country’s poorest provinces stand to benefit in a federal system of government that holds the key to an end to strife in Mindanao and economic progress in impoverished communities.

Presumptive speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez gave this assurance as he aired the optimism that a politics-free constitutional convention will provide the best remedies to the ills of the country that are mostly triggered by the secessionist problem in the South.

Alvarez, principal author of House Resolution No. 1 that seeks to convene a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 Constitution, called for a swift adoption of the resolution that supports newly-installed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a shift to federal form of government.

Alvarez said peace and unity in the country rank the highest in the list of priority legislation that the House of Representatives will tackle in the 17th Congress.

“Federalism will allow the autonomous regions to realize their full economic potentials as self-governing units that are directly answerable to their respective constituents,” said Alvarez. “The key word is ‘divergence.’”

He also assured poor provinces that the beneficial effects of federalism will be felt by them, stressing that the proposal will lead to impoverished provinces being grouped with “better forming provinces in order to help them strive and attain a better performing region.”

Delegates will also be prohibited from representing any political party or group.

Alvarez said once a federal system of government is in place, there would be no need for a Bangsamoro Basic Law because Muslim Mindanao will already have its own autonomous region co-existing with other autonomous regions.

Earlier, Alvarez also co-authored House Resolution No. 16 that urges government to “jumpstart the formal peace negotiations between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
(Ben R. Rosario)