BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said the next President should call for a constituent assembly in the first yesr in office to tackle a shift in form of governance to federalism.
In the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN in Davao City on Sunday, June 14, Marcos said he is supporting Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in his advocacy to shift to a federal form of government from the present presidential.
Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa is the weekly program of Duterte and had as guest Marcos who was in the city for speaking engagements over the weekend.
In the program, Duterte said the next President should embrace federalism with passion.
Since early this year, Duterte has gone to key cities nationwide with his Listening Tour, a series of speaking engagements and forums on federalism.
Marcos said the concept of federal governance was in place during the time of his father, in the Batasang Pambansa which was “regional in character.”
It was overtaken by time, said Marcos, son of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos who was deposed in a People Power revolution in 1986.
Marcos said he is swayed to support federalism because it would decentralize governance and the federal regions would not be depending on the Manila government in solving local problems. Ït spreads the power center away from Manila, he said.
In strongly pushing for federalism, Duterte in his Listening Tour said federalism is the answer to the Moro and communist insurgency, would lead to equal distribution of wealth to the federal regions and eliminate if not stop corruption and widespread criminality.
Marcos of late has come into the limelight as chair of the Senate committee on local government which is tackling the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would create an autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao.
President Benigno Aquino said he would like to see BBL in place before he bows out of office in 2016 and had given a June deadline for Congress to approve the Malalacanang-endorsed draft of the bill.
The draft bill is now being reviewed by the Senate and the Lower House.
Last week, Marcos sent the proposed BBL to the freezer saying the BBL needed more time for review to avoid danger of its being declared unconstituional by the Supreme Court. Marcos said his committee would craft a Senate version of the bill.
The House of Representatives also failed to beat the Aquino deadline and stopped also last week deliberation on the bill and set an October deadline to complete the final form of the proposed BBL.