Ex-Sen. Pimentel says interest in PH federalism increased after Duterte’s election win

  • Former Sen. Nene Pimentel says there has been increased interest about federalism after Duterte’s election win
  • Both Duterte and Pimentel are advocates for a shift to federalism for the Philippines
  • Pimentel is also the principal author of the country’s Local Government Code

Former Senator Nene Pimentel, one of the most vocal supporters of federalism in the Philippines, says there has been increased interest regarding the matter after the electoral victory of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

Pimentel, who was the principal author of the Local Government Code and who once authored a Senate resolution calling for a constitutional  amendment to shift to federalism, has begun a speaking tour about the federal form of government.

Mukhang na-excite na sila. [It looks like they are excited.] There are so many requests for seminar now on federalism. Narinig nila yung salita na federalism pero hindi nila alam [They hear the word federalism but they do not know] what is in there for me. How will it affect my life as an individual citizen of this country? Dumadami na yung mga imbitasyon tungkol dito [There have been many invitations about this] which is a good thing, I think,” the former senator told GMA News.

Both Duterte and Pimentel are members of the PDP-Laban party and have similar views about pushing for federalism in the country.

Under Pimentel’s proposal for federalism, the country would be composed of 11 federal states with Metro Manila as the federal administrative region.

The 11 states would be based on the present regional administrative divisions and would be called: Northern Luzon with Tuguegarao City as capital, Central Luzon, with Tarlac City as capital, Southern Tagalog, with Tagaytay City as capital, Bicol, with Legazpi City as capital, Eastern Visayas, with Catbalogan as capital, Central Visayas, with Toledo City as capital, Western Visayas, with Iloilo as capital, Minparom, with Mamburao, Mindoro Occidental as capital, Northern Mindanao, with Cagayan de Oro as capital, Southern Mindanao, with Davao City as capital, and the Bangsamoro, with Marawi as capital.

Pimentel notes that the shift to federalism would address the problems faced by the currently stalled Bangsamoro Basic Law.

In addition, he says, the national central government would share political and economic power with regional and local governments.

“With this, we immediately establish 112 centers of power, finance, and development throughout the country,” he said.

After being invited to the recent federalism forum hosted by Harvard Kennedy School alumni in San Juan City, Pimentel is expected to hold similar talks with inivtations in Iba, Zambales, Bacolod City, Leyte, and Camarines Norte.