Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III stressed that the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would be a good “test case” to see if a federal type of government would work in the country.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Bangsamoro Organic Law a good test case for federalism, says Sotto
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - July 19, 2018 - 3:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Thursday that most of the lawmakers in the upper house see no need to railroad the country’s shift to a federal form of government.

Sotto stressed that the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would be a good “test case” to see if a federal type of government would work in the country.

“Magandang experimental ‘tong Bangsamoro Organic Act. Dito makikita natin [kung] kaya, hindi natin kailangang apurahin ang federalism. Makikita natin dito sa Bangsamoro Organic Act kung maganda ‘yung federal dahil federal type ito,” he said in a press briefing.

He added that majority of the senators do not want to rush the proposal despite the strong push from their counterparts in the House of Representatives.

“Mas magandang makuha muna ‘yung sense ng mga kababayan natin. The sense is that they don’t understand how federalism will be and what will be the effects of federalism in the country,” Sotto said.

A Social Weather Stations survey showed that only one in four Filipinos was aware of federalism.

In a separate poll, Pulse Asia revealed that 66 percent of Filipinos opposed the shift in the form of government from unitary to federal.

Sotto also denied that President Rodrigo Duterte had asked the Congress leadership to prioritize charter change.

The Senate and the House of Representatives finalized on Wednesday a consolidated version of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

The Congress is expected to ratify the measure on Monday morning when they open the Third Regular Session. President Rodrigo Duterte is also expected to sign the bill into law on the same day.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said the approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law is an evidence that charter change is not needed for the benefits of federalism to be felt and for self-governance to be achieved.

Drilon said the BBL would grant the envisioned Bangsamoro region powers, fiscal autonomy and generation of resources, which the proposed federal charter, if adopted, would grant to the country’s 18 regions.

READDrilon: No need for Cha-cha to achieve federalism's benefits

BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW FEDERALISM VICENTE
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