MANILA— Given voters’ education is crucial in making sure Filipinos are aware of any proposed changes in the country’s Constitution as it shift to federalism, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday stressed the need to allot budget for a massive information campaign.
“Bago naman po tayo magkaroon ng plebisito, talaga naman pong yung voters’ education ang importante,” he said.
“So doon po sa budget na gagawin nila… para doon sa plebisito, importante po na maglaan din ng substantial amount nang maintindihan ng mga tao kung ano talaga ang ninanais nating baguhin sa Saligang Batas,” he said.
The House of Representatives recently adopted a resolution convening the two chambers of Congress into a constituent assembly, which would be tasked to revise the Constitution to pave the way for a shift to federalism. After this, the proposed revisions would be submitted to and voted upon by the people through a national plebiscite.
Roque for his part said a nationwide information drive would properly educate the public on the benefits of a federal form of government.
By giving local governments power over their own resources, Roque said federalism opens more possibility in boosting regional development.
“Ang Pederalismo po talaga ay kinikilala na ang mga benepisyo at ang serbisyo, mas mabilis maparating sa taong-bayan kung ito’y ipadadaan sa mga pamahalaang lokal,” he explained.
The official was then asked to comment on House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ threat that he would give zero budget to provinces whose leaders would not back the move to a federal government.
While the chief executive is committed in pushing for federal form of governement, the executive branch will not meddle in Congress’ discussions on its development, he said.
“Ang paninindigan po ng Presidente, hindi po siya nanghihimasok sa gawain ng Kongreso. Ito pong pagbibigay ng suhestiyon kung ano ‘yung dapat marebisa sa ating Saligang Batas ay katungkulan pa rin ng ating Kongreso na umuupo bilang isang Constituent Assembly,” Roque said.
He added that the President believes in Congress’ authority as an independent body and will not intervene in its duty as a Constituent Assembly. Joyce Ann Rocamora/PNA-northboundasia.com