MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte created an Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF) to raise public awareness on the proposed new system of government, amid survey results showing it is the least of Filipinos' concerns.
Under Memorandum circular No. 52 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by authority of the President on Oct. 31, the IATF will take charge of integrating, harmonizing, and coordinating ongoing efforts towards federalism and constitutional reform.
"The conduct of public information drive and advocacy campaign at the grassroots level is necessary to raise public awareness on federalism and constitutional reform as well as to ensure widest public participation in the ongoing initiatives to amend or revise the fundamental law of the land," the memorandum read.
Constant consultations with all sectors of society is essential in every stage of the process of constitutional reform so that all such efforts towards reform will embody the sovereign will and reflect the ideals and aspirations of our people, it added.
Among the inter-agency's tasks are to develop strategies and implement such activities necessary and proper to raise public awareness on federalism and constitutional reform and prepare an information dissemination and public communication plan to ensure an effective, efficient, and uniform undertaking of advocacy activities.
Moreover, the IATF will undertake consultations with the former members of the Consultative Committee, government agencies, the private sector, and the public in general concerning federalism and constitutional reform.
The IATF will be composed of Secretary Eduardo AAo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government or his equivalent as Chairperson; Secretary Menardo Guevarra of the Department of Justice, as Vice-Chairperson; and the heads of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary; Presidential Management Staff; Presidential Communications Operations Office; Office of the Presidential Spokesperson; Presidential Legislative Liaison Office; Office of the Political Adviser; Commission on Higher Education; Development Academy of the Philippines; and University of the Philippines Law Center.
According to the memorandum, members may designate their respective permanent representatives to the IATF with the rank of Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary.
The IATF shall submit quarterly reports on its activities and accomplishments to the President.
Meanwhile, budgetary requirements for the operations of the IATF shall be sourced from appropriate funding sources that the Department of Budget and Management may identify, subject to relevant laws, rules, and regulations.
In August, MalacaAang announced that the proposed Federal Constitution drafted by the Consultative Committee is open for public feedback to help improve the proposal after some Cabinet members expressed apprehensions on the proposal's economic aspects.
Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President will consider people's comments before officially transmitting the proposed Federal Constitution to Congress.
Feedback on the Federal Constitution can be given to the Office of the President, Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, or PCOO in writing, e-mail, or personally.
Under the ConCom's draft charter, there are 18 proposed federated regions composed of 16 symmetrical regions existing regions plus Negrosanon Federated Region which will include the province of Siquijor and two asymmetrical regions namely Bangsamoro and Cordillera.
Earlier, Duterte admitted that he could not convince everyone to support his push for federalism but noted that it will benefit the entire country through its wealth and power sharing feature.
Duterte said federalism might not assure improved economic condition right away but believes there is a chance it would spread the country's wealth and resources evenly among the regions.
It might help, it cannot guarantee prosperity kaagad (immediately) but it might help distribute the wealth of the nation among the local units, Duterte said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency