By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is now more eager to push for constitutional reform following the results of a recent survey which showed that four out of 10 Filipinos expressed their support for the federal system of government.
DILG Assistant Secretary for Communication and Public Affairs Jonathan Malaya said they look at the recent Social Weather Stations survey results in a “positive light” and see it as an opportunity to ramp up efforts to further promote federalism in the country.
“The numbers look promising and we’ll take it as an opportunity to further accelerate our campaign for constitutional reform,” Malaya said.
Based on the survey results released Thursday, one out of four or at least 25 percent of Filipino adults are aware of federalism.
It also showed that people in the rural provinces or at least 27 percent know about federalism more than those in urban areas with 24 percent.
Awareness and support for federal governance was found to be highest in Mindanao, followed by Metro Manila, Visayas, and Balance Luzon.
“The survey also reveals that among those who knew about federalism, around 37 percent actually support the federal shift, while only 29 percent were opposed to it,” Malaya added.
He explained that once people are informed that federalism would be beneficial to their families, they will “undoubtedly see the DILG’s campaign in a favorable light.”
Meanwhile, the DILG expects that the 34 percent who are still undecidedwill eventually support federalism when the President endorses the consultative committee’s proposed model for constitutional reform in his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) next month.
According to Malaya, the March 23-27 survey was done prior to the DILG’s roadshow for federalism program.
“Let’s see how the results will fare after we’ve taken our information campaign to all 17 regions. I’m certain that not only will awareness rise,but support will also escalate,” Malaya added.
The DILG and the Consultative Commission (Concom) to Review the 1987 Constitution recently joined forces for a series of federalism roadshows where both teams will conduct consultations, town hall meetings, conventions, and speakers’ training in all 17 regions of the country. The roadshow started last June 18 in Dumaguete City.
Malaya said they are optimistic that the DILG roadshows, along with Concom’s consultations, will not only increase public awareness on federalism, but will also gain overwhelming support from the regions.
Earlier, thousands from various sectors and political groups in Negros and Cordillera Regions attended dialogues and conventions with the DILG to discuss federalism.
Malaya has also invited Bicolanos as the DILG will bring next week the roadshow to Legazpi City in the Bicol Region, where a a“Pederalismoserye” town hall meeting with basic sectors will be held.
The DILG was tasked by President Duterte to lead the administration’s campaign for federalism and has since advocated for a federal shift.