Freeman Region

Ex-Negros Occidental governor expresses doubts on draft federal charter

Gilbert P. Bayoran - The Freeman

BACOLOD CITY — Former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela expressed his reservations on the newly approved draft of the federal Constitution by the Consultative Committee (ConCom), claiming that it will only end up getting replaced by a Constitutional Assembly version.

The regional consultations of ConCom were just meant to secure "endorsements" for Charter Change (ChaCha), said Coscolluela, adding that when other versions get released, there will be little time for public debate before the planned referendum in May 19.


And that seems to be the plan, he said. "If they were able to railroad TRAIN, they can do it again with a booby-trapped ChaCha perfumed by the sweet promises of Federalism. It just might happen, too, unless people speak up and say NO to ChaCha, while there is still time," Coscolluela said.

Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez (3rd district), for his part, was confident that the approved draft Federal Constitution of the ConCom, created by President Rodrigo Duterte, will get overwhelming support from the House of Representatives.


Benitez, an ally of President Duterte and leader of the Visayan bloc in the House, said that while he expected no problem in the passage of the ConCom draft in the Lower House, "maybe what we would like to ask next is the Senate; what is their sentiments?"

After the presentation of output of the ConCom to the Cabinet and President Duterte, Benitez said the Executive will send it to the Legislative. "That is the time when we have to react and look into its provisions," he added.

The draft contains the creation of 18 federal states, including the Negrosanon Federated Region (NFR), which will be composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Special Assistant to the President, Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, who attended the anti-drug summit Sunday  in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, said he will support whatever is good for Negros Island, when asked if he will support the creation of the NFR.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, who visited Negros Occidental, also disclosed that President Duterte will not oppose the creation of the NFR as proposed by the ConCom in its draft Federal Constitution.

The Negros Island Region created May 29, 2015 via an executive order issued by then president Benigno Aquino III was composed of  Negros Occidental and Oriental. It, however, was abolished by Duterte through another executive order on August 9, 2017. (FREEMAN)



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