Visiting PH official in DC plugs federalism
WASHINGTON, DC – A Filipino official plugged federalism during a roundtable discussion hosted by the US-Philippines Society and the Philippine Embassy on November 8.
The Philippine Embassy in cooperation with the US-Philippines Society organized
Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA) CEO Raul L. Lambino, a strong advocate of federalism, is also the Vice President for International Affairs of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Party.
In the discussion attended by US business representatives and Filipino community leaders, Secretary Lambino highlighted the advantages of having a federal system of government, its objectives and the proposed model for Philippine federalism.
“The objectives of federalism will be to activate the regions’ participation in national decision-making, to accelerate economic development of the regions, achieve peace in Mindanao and allow the preservation of culture and the languages of the various ethno-linguistic groups,” said Lambino.
He further explained the administrative structure of the regional governments and the division of powers under the proposed model.
“This is how we envision the Philippines to be. This is not a proposal that is not subject to modification, but we are proposing the establishment of 11 regional governments in the country,” the Secretary said.
Defense, national security, foreign policy, currency, banking and monetary policy, customs and national taxation and international trade powers will be retained by the federal government, while the regional governments will be responsible for the development of the regions and for providing basic services to their constituents.
Lambino also highlighted the principle of solidarity wherein the welfare of each region is the business of all the other regions in order to ensure that the basic services rendered to the people are more or less of the same quality or standard wherever in the country they may be.
In the brief Q&A session, Lambino fielded a wide range of questions including on the possible impact of federalism to Mindanao, the main roadblocks in pushing for federalism in the Philippines and the government’s plan to conduct information drive campaigns to gather support for federalism nationwide.
US corporate officials were also curious about how such a shift may impact the business and investment environment in the country.
Lambino was in Washington together with CEZA OIC Deputy Administrator for Planning Raymundo Roquero and CEZA Deputy Administrator for Operations Geoffrey Aldrin Cabalza, for a three-day investment mission designed to promote the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) to various US corporations and government agencies.
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