Ample time to convince Senate to back federalism: Palace

MANILAThere is enough time for the Executive Department to convince the Senate to agree to the proposed shift to a federal system of government, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday.

Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, who is DILG spokesperson, said the fact that the Senate has not passed any measure that stops the moves to amend the Constitution is an indication that the Upper Chamber could still be convinced to the administration's federalism push.

Malaya said the President has created an inter-agency group led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to handle the information campaign and convince the two chambers of Congress and the public to support the proposed constitutional reforms.

The Presidential Legislative Liaison Office together with the Executive Branch, he said, will schedule and conduct briefing for all senators, their legislative staff, and the media covering them on the proposed Federal Constitution.

Although some senators have mentioned negative comments about federalism, the fact remains that the Senate has not passed anything that would amount to a repudiation of federalism, Malaya said in a press briefing in MalacaAang.

The final decision of the Senate has not yet been made so that gives advocates the time to talk and begin that process of dialogue and the President will be the one leading that, he added.

The Senate will issue a committee report on hearings concerning Charter change and federalism.

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution seeking the Senate's concurrence to the convening of a Constitutional Assembly that up to now is pending at the Senate.

An inter-agency task force on federalism has been convened to to gather comments from all stakeholders on the proposal which will be forward to the President.

The inter-agency task force on federalism is composed of members of the Office of the President, DILG, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Commission on Higher Education, and ConCom.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expressed optimism that the senators would eventually find the merits to support the shift to federalism.

We are confident that after giving them (a) thorough picture of why we think the Charter change is meritorious that many of the senators will agree with the President on this matter, Roque said in a press briefing on August 3.

I think there is no alternative to convincing them by showing them the merits of the proposed amendments, Roque said.

He said senators initially refused to support the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) but Senate President Vicente Sotto III eventually agreed to sponsor TRAIN 2 after being briefed about its benefits.

We expect a similar development as far as Charter change is concerned, he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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