Cha-cha just taking ‘power nap’: PCOO chief

MANILA — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Thursday clarified that Charter Change is not dead, in response to remarks from lawmakers saying the move to shift to a new form of government is not Congress’ priority.

“Cha-cha is just on a power nap. Ibig sabihin nagpa-power nap, eh nag-iipon lang ng lakas para paggising niya ay tuluy-tuloy na ang ating kampanya dito sa pederalismo or Charter Change (What I mean by power nap, is that it’s saving up strength so that when it wakes up, our campaign on Federalism or Charter Change would push through),” Andanar said in an interview over DZRH.

He said while he respects the opinion of lawmakers, it should be a priority to make the public understand Federalism’s benefits to the country.

Ang goal po ng inter-agency ay madala doon sa publiko, doon sa masa, ang ibig sabihin ng pederalismo at kung bakit maayos ito (The goal of the inter-agency is to bring this to the public, to explain what Federalism is to the masses and why this is good),” Andanar said.

He was referring to the inter-agency task force on Federalism, which is composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), PCOO, Commission on Higher Education, and the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to review the 1987 Constitution.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also shrugged off remarks by some lawmakers that talks of Charter Change or Federalism are “dead” in the Congress.

“I don’t think the Senate, as an institution, has said that. They have individual members, but as a body I don’t think they’ve decided Federalism is dead,” Roque said.

“That’s why we have started a period of discussions and we hope also to have this intelligent discourse with the Senate as well,” he added.

Andanar, meanwhile, allayed anew fears that shifting to a federal system of government would mean an extension of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Ang Presidente na mismo ang nagsabi na kapag ito ay pumasa, itong Charter Change o itong pederalismo ay bababa siya sa puwesto (The President himself said that once Charter Change or federalism is in place, he’ll step down),” he added.

The ConCom’s draft Federal Constitution bars Duterte from having a term extension and from running in the 2022 general elections.

Andanar said PCOO is planning to hold a forum on Federalism by next week and release the Federalism jingle to promote it in the coming days.

According to Andanar, a trainors’ training program on federalism will also be in place to make sure that there would be similar content discussed by all trainors.