CALAPAN CITY–Federalism can be the solution to address poverty in the country, Atty. Raul Lambino, PDP-Laban deputy secretary general for constitutional reform, said here Saturday.
At the forum at Anahaw Island View Resort in Calapan City, Lambino explained the big possibility that poverty in the country can be solved under federalism.
“Under federalism, each state will help each other by assisting those who is in need. Ibig sabihin po, kung sino ang nangangailangan, kailangang tulungan upang ma-iangat din,” Lambino told forum participants, mostly local officials as well members of academe and non-government organizations.
He even cited a family of 10 where some of them did not finish college. He said whoever is well-to-do among them must help the needy to uplift the latter’s economic standing.
For so many years, the Philippines is under presidential and unitary form of government and the lives of many Filipinos continue to remain poor despite the economic boom.
“Very rich, very poor. Alam n’yo po kahit dito sa Mindoro, ang sabi po sa amin, there is only 5 percent of the people of Mindoro who belong to the one whom we call rich people. Ninety-five percent of our people in Mindoro still belong to the poor class of our society,” Lambino said.
He said the same figure and percentage reflect the picture nationwide and this is the one the Duterte administration wants to address.
“And this had been going for centuries. Since the time of Spaniards, ganito na po yung sistema natin,” he pointed out.
According to Lambino, there is also lopsided development in the country. He said, out of the 18 regions we have now in the Philippines, only three of the regions have 62 percent of our gross domestic product.
He identified the three regions with vast GDP as National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon.
“Ibig sabihin, naghahati-hati sa 38 percent and 15 regions na kung saan dito naitatala ang maraming pinakamahihirap nating kababyan. It’s unfair ‘di ba,” he explained.
“PDP-Laban is not afraid of structural change because government is experimentation. There is no perfect government but as we go along, we will learn from our mistakes,” he said.
He said the PDP since 1982 or for more than 30 years has been advocating federal system, saying if we do not change structures of government, the rich region and provinces and people will continue to become even much richer, and the poor provinces, region and people will continue to become poorer.
“Well hindi natin pwedeng payagan yun, kami sa PDP hindi pwede, we need to level the playing field. Kailangan gumalaw ang gobyerno para magkaroon ng chance yung maliliit, yung mga nasa talampakan hindi lang yung mga nasa laylayan. Eh yung ibang partido lalayan ang tawag, sa amin PDP hindi, yung mga nasa talampakan, kailangan iangat natin sila,” he stressed.
“We hope in PDP that we will continue this fight, kasi kahit mabago natin yung Constitution, magkaroon tayo ng bagong system of government and the implementation will take a generation,” he added.
Lambino insist that the time to do it is now. Before 2019 election, the primer is needed and asked the people in a plebiscite if they approved federalism so that the government can prepare for the rest of three more remaining years of Duterte administration for transition.
The objectives of the Philippine federal system he said, will not going to activate the regions, for the participation in national decision making process, but it will accelerate economic development.