By Albert Hans F. Lipura

Senator Robin Padilla has fulfilled his pre-election promise as he filed a resolution seeking to push a shift to federalism and a parliamentary form of government on Thursday.

Photo Courtesy of Robin Padilla, Philippine News Agency

Padilla filed Senate Resolution No. 6 to review provisions within the 1987 Constitution that he sees as “stumbling blocks to equitable economic growth,” including restrictions on foreign equity in natural resources, public utilities, build-operate-transfer projects, and equity in mass media.

“It is high time to fine-tune the 1987 Constitution — including considering a shift to federalism and a parliamentary government — so it can fulfill its goal of providing Filipinos with a just and humane society,” the senator said.

Moreover, Padilla said it is time to investigate federalism to represent the concerns of our diverse geographical regions in policy-making and legislation. He argued that a federal government would decentralize massive government powers from a unitary system and provide a long-term remedy to political and economic inequality, inequitable access to goods and services, and undue allocation of state resources.

The senator also stated that, with the exception of insignificant powers granted to local government units, the country’s unitary form of government is centered on the central government authority allocated to the three branches of government rather than decentralized powers assigned to regions.

Padilla asserted that the regions would be more knowledgeable about the needs and goals of their respective areas and noted that the country's economic progress had been substantially centered in Greater Luzon, which accounts for 57% of its gross domestic product as compared to the 43% in all other regions from years 2019 to 2021.

The senator also claimed that shifting to a parliamentary system could provide political stability and prevent a coup or a "mob rule" to remove a government leader from their post.

"Under the parliamentary system, there will be an institutionalized and peaceful approach to removing a head of government in lieu of the unconstitutional and highly divisive coup d'etat or mob rule that our country had experienced," he wrote in his resolution.

To recall, Padilla frequently discussed his plans to push for federalism during his election campaign. In his meeting with Muslim leaders in Cebu on March 26, Padilla talked about continuing former President Rodrigo Duterte’s legacy and his dreams for a federal government.

“Kase ang mga tao umaasa, umaasa sila ng change, umaasa sila na umayos yung buhay nila. Sana maging totoo na tayo, wala nang ibang pwedeng magbigay ng change sa atin palitan na natin ang form of government,” he said during the meeting.

Padilla garnered the most votes in the senatorial elections last May 2022 and is set to chair the Senate committee on constitutional amendments when the 19th Congress convenes on July 25.

Edited by Annika Gorgeana V. Maningo