Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Thursday advocated Federalism before the 10th National Congress of the Philippine Councilors League at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Pimentel, who was the guest of honor for the event, spoke at length before the assembled councilors on the merits of the Federal system of government for the Philippines.
“We see a correlation between distance from the center of power, which is Metro Manila, and the poverty incidence rate of a province. The closer a place is to the center of power, which is Metro Manila, the better the chance of that place to economically progress”, Pimentel said.
Pimentel conceded that the Philippines, even under the current unitary system, is progressing.
However, he warned that the impressive economic growth rate would only increase the gap between rich and poor regions if the current system does not change.
Pimentel said, “…to erase the two faces of Philippine society by allowing the neglected areas to catch up with the more affluent ones, we need to change. We cannot allow the two poles to be too far apart, otherwise, Philippine society will break up and the Philippines will become a failed state. We cannot and should not allow that to happen.”
Pimentel described how the Philippines would look like under the Federal system, with executive power shared between a President and a Prime Minister, and the powers that would be delegated to regions and those that would remain with the national government.
Pimentel told the councilors of his “insurance policy” – the Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice” bill, which would increase the funds available to LGUs for the sharing of revenues and increase the share of LGUs in these funds.
This change would increase the capacity of LGUs to meet their obligations under the Local Government Code, according to Pimentel.