Malacañang yesterday said there is still much time left for the Senate to tackle charter change and federalism before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down in 2022.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III insisted that the Senate will prioritize the passage of the proposed 2019 national budget.
“Well, if there’s no hope for it to be tackled this December, there’s the next session, so there’s still time,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo said the Palace is still confident that the Senate will support federalism after the proposed 2019 national budget is passed.
“Duterte still has a long term,” he added.
On Oct. 31 this year, Duterte created an Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF) to take charge of “integrating, harmonizing, and coordinating ongoing efforts towards federalism and constitutional reform.”
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya earlier said awareness on federalism has increased due to the holding of roadshows nationwide and the creation of IATF.
However, he acknowledged that even if more Filipinos became aware of federalism, there is no guarantee that support will follow.
Like Panelo, Malaya also expressed hope that the next Congress, which will be elected in May 2019, will be another “battleground” for the government to be able to push for constitutional amendment.
Duterte has repeatedly said that he is willing to step down once federalism is in place.
He also said that he has no plans of leading the transition to federalism, noting he was willing to give up his position to “anyone” who could make the Philippines better.
The President said he wanted to witness the election of a new president during the transition from unitary to a federal form of government.* PNA
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