The challenge to decide whether Charter Change and Federalism aregood to the country is still with the people.
This was thegist of a forum attended by about 300 people at theSt. John Vianney Hall at the Bishop’s House in Bacolod City, yesterday, where lawyer Alex Lacson explained to them what federalism is, its proponents, andits status.
Lacson collated the different stands on Federalism, such as thatof former chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Hilario Davide, and shared these with the attendees, who came from different sectors of society.
The present situation of the country, as well as the causes of poverty were also tackled with Lacson providing the pros and cons of Federalism, and the arguments of each player in this system.
At the end of his talk, Lacson said that Federalism, or charter change, is a very big issue that entails overhauling of our Constitution and our form of government.
“The people should be consulted as they are the ones who will be heavily affected by this change. We should listen to the people. It should be the voice of the people that must be reflected in the change of the Constitution,” Lacson said.
Lacson said he was formerly a supporter of Federalism since his bosses before were also into it, but he said he does not have a specific stand on it yet.
Former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela, and co-convenor of the Paghimud-os Negros (Citizens' Movement for Democracy and People Power), also said that the overall sentiment of the forum was that the people have the right to know and to participate in deliberations on cha-cha and federalism.
The participants, who were appreciative of the presentation of Lacson, were one in saying that the information must be disseminated to the public as much as possible, Coscolluela said.
The Social Action Center responded by saying that they will prepare "orientation modules" that can be used to equip the faithful with the needed information.
Fr. Cris Gonzales, director of the SAC said, “Federalism is not bad or good, but the decision will have to be placed in the hands of the people.”
Gonzales said that is why they have a forum so the people will haveinformed discussions on Federalism.
Those who attended were also told that the information sharing should not stop at the end of the forum, but should also give way to others to know more about Federalism, like a ripple effect.
Paghimud-os will also continue with its series of forums to keep everyone abreast of developments, Coscolluela said.
Participants also asked for copies of the Manifesto of Paghimud-os so they could gather signatures of support.
They also support the challenge for Congressmen to face their constituents to present their proposals, and discuss the issues in a transparent and participative manner.
Another forum is set at the St. John Vianney Hall at 1 to 5 p.m. tomorrow, with Neri Colmenares as speaker on “Charter Change: For Better or Worse”.*SGG
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