By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will convene on Monday and Tuesday (March 18 and 19) 200 key representatives from 76 national government agencies to ensure their commitment and support for the shift to federalism.
To be held at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City, the two-day event hopes to inculcate to the participants the advantages of having a federal form of government.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the activity will be in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to the DILG as lead agency of the Interagency Task Force on Federalism (IATF), to harmonize, consolidate, and strengthen the advocacy campaign for federalism with the active support and involvement of the concerned agencies of the government.
“The NGA Conference will be an avenue to discuss among the government agencies the fundamental principles of federalism, the need to shift from a unitary to a federal form of government, and their significant role in the advocacy campaign for federalism as one of the President’s primary agenda,” said Año.
In October last year, Malacañang issued Memorandum Circular 52, creating the IATF that is tasked to integrate, harmonize and coordinate efforts toward federalism and constitutional reforms.
The IATF is composed of the DILG Secretary as Chairperson; Secretary Menardo Guevarra of the Department of Justice (DOJ), as Vice-Chairperson; and the heads of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary; Presidential Management Staff; Presidential Communications Operations Office; Office of the Presidential Spokesperson; Presidential Legislative Liaison Office; Office of the Political Adviser; Commission on Higher Education; Development Academy of the Philippines; and University of the Philippines Law Center.
To deliver the keynote speech on the Federalism National Advocacy Campaign is DOJ Undersecretary Emmiline Aglipay-Villar, while former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel will give an inspirational message.
One of the highlights of the activity will be a presentation on the Lessons from the Devolution of 1991: Fundamental Considerations in the Shift to a Federal System by Dr. Alex Brillantes of the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration to be followed by a discussion on the Direction of the Federalism Campaign for 2019 by DILG Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya, who is also the administrator of the DILG Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform.
There will be a breakout session to discuss and develop necessary strategies per cluster to raise public awareness on federalism and constitutional reform.
Other resource speakers and their respective topics are: former Consultative Committee member Dr. Julio C. Teehankee – Limits of Unitarism and the Challenge of Federalism; Foundation for Economic Freedom fellow Gary Olivar – Serious Economic Imbalance Among Regions Resulting from the Unitary System; Federalism Institute Fellow Atty. Alberto Oxales – Federalism as the Solution to Uneven Regional Development and Severe Inequality.
Other invited speakers and facilitators are: Atty. Salma Rasul, Director, Islamic Legal Studies, UP Law Center; Prof. Eric Daniel C. De Torres from the Far Eastern University; Federalism Institute fellow Atty. Vincent Revil; Prof. Alfredo S. Sureta Jr.; Institute for Political and Electoral Reform Executive Director Prof. Ramon C. Casiple; Education for Life Foundation Senior Educator Fr. Edicio Dela Torre; and DILG NCR Regional Director Maria Lourdes L Agustin.