VisMin mayors back Federalism

Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - February 12, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Several mayors from Visayas and Mindanao are supporting the move of President Rodrigo Duterte for the Philippines to shift to a federal form of government.

The mayors who attended the launch of the support movement in Cebu were LMP-Siquijor Chapter president, Mayor Dean Villa; LMP-Bohol Chapter president, Mayor Allen Ray Piezas, who is also the VAFedM vice president for Central Visayas; LMP-Negros Oriental Chapter president, Mayor Edsel Enardecido of Ayungon town; LMP Eastern Visayas Chapter president, Mayor Allan Contado, LMP-Southern Leyte Chapter president, Mayor Oliver Ranque, and LMP-South Cotabato president, Mayor Rey Tamayo of Tupe town.

LMP is the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines.

Piezas announced they will also launch the movement for federalism in Bohol on April 5. The launch in Cebu in Naga City for the first district happened just two days before the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Cebu today.  It was led by First District Representative Gerald Anthony Gullas and LMP-Cebu president and Tuburan Mayor Democrito "Aljun" Diamante.

The Cebuano Movement for Federalism (CeMFed) led by Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho is spearheading the launch by district here. It is supported by the Visayas Alliance of Federal Movements (VAFedM) and National Alliance of Movements for Federalism (NAMFed).

Cho is the daughter of Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs, Secretary Adelino Sitoy, also the head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, who is helping President Duterte work on the shift.

Opposition

Just as there are supporters, there are also those who oppose the move, one of whom is Cebu City Councilor Pastor Alcover who believes that decentralizing power can encourage political warlords.

"We are only encouraging political warlords to build little Kingdoms because there's no law on political dynasty," Alcover said.

Aside from this, Alcover said federalism means "more taxes because we have to build additional buildings for state prisons (like Bilibid), State judiciary (like Supreme Court), State Parliament/Congress and other state buildings/ structures” along with additional budget for government employees.

Alcover is allied with Cebu City Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) chairman, Vice Mayor Edgar Labella.

Benefits

Gullas and Diamante both believe that federalism will strengthen local autonomy and will have economic benefits.

Gullas is the deputy majority leader in Congress while Diamante is the Cebu Chapter president of the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP). Diamante is also the vice president of the LMP Visayas Cluster, executive vice president NAMFed, and president of VAFedM.

Some 5,000 first district barangay and municipal officials attended the launch in Naga City, the second after the launch in Cordova for the Sixth District. (FREEMAN)

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