Federalism in PH: Former senate president eyes for the creation of 11 federal states, more senators

  • Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. pushes for a federal Republic of the Philippines
  • His proposal includes creation of 11 federal states with some 81 senators
  • Proposed federal states are as follows: Luzon (4 states), Visayas (4 states), Mindanao (3 states),  and Metro Manila which will serve as the capital

As he pushed for a federal Republic of the Philippines, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. set his sights to propose for the creation of 11 federal states under a presidential form of government.

Pimentel’s proposal, an article written by Katerina Francisco on Rappler, includes increasing the number of elected senators to 81 based on the proposed number of federal states.

As explained by the former senate president during a talk organized by the Harvard Kennedy School alumni at Club Filipino in San Juan City last June 17, he outlined his proposal for a federal form of government that would divide the country into autonomous regions with the authority to impose policies for their own affairs.

He said that under the setup, the central government will retain powers to address issues of national interest that will include foreign policy and national security.

Proposing for the creation of some 11 federal states, Pimentel claimed this will be created out of the existing administrative regions, so that the identities of the proposed states would already be familiar to the people.

The following are the proposed federal states which Pimentel identified: Luzon with four states (Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol); Visayas also with four states ( Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Minparom composing of Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental, Palawan and the Kalayaan Islands, Romblon, Marinduque); Mindanao with three states (Northern Mindanao which can be subdivided into Northwestern and Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Bangsamoro). Metro Manila will serve as the capital of the federal republic of the Philippines.

As such, Pimentel disclosed that the Bangsamoro federal state will serve beneficial and of utmost importance to maintain peace and order in the southern area in Mindanao. Stressing this, he pointed out that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may no longer be needed.

In addition to this, Pimentel made a suggestion to retain the current presidential form as he proposed that the two highest post– president and vice president– should be elected as a tandem instead of being voted separately.

Likewise, a bicameral Congress will be retained, but the federal state senators will be elected by the states themselves. Thus, his proposal would suggest an increase in the number of senators with each of the 11 federal states to be represented by six senators, with six more coming from Metro Manila and nine overseas senators which will total to 81 senators.

Sabah will then be added as part of the Philippines’ territory and converting it into another federal state, Pimentel suggested further noting that the territory of the federal republic should include Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).