Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel is the guest of honor for the celebration of the 116th Founding Anniversary of One Surigao on Monday.
Pimentel represented President Rodrigo Duterte to join Surigaonons in celebrating the foundation of the Mother Province of Surigao, which used to include the current provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and Dinagat Islands.
“We are now in the midst of Change, Change that the Filipino people demanded, and Change that President Duterte, together with his allies in the PDP Laban, will deliver. Through this Change, we will fix and put an end to the age-old problems of Philippine society”, declared Pimentel before the Surigaonons who gathered for the celebration.
Pimentel, in his speech, outlined the ruling party PDP Laban’s proposal for the country’s shift to Federalism.
This shift is aimed at ending the neglect that Mindanao has experienced under the current unitary system of government, neglect that Pimentel, as a fellow Mindanaonon, has felt.
Aside from explaining Federalism, Pimentel also stated key reform initiatives that will accompany the rewriting of the Constitution.
These reforms include: supporting the development of modern political parties by penalizing political butterflies and providing budgetary support to political parties, transforming the party-list system to a system of proportional representation, raising qualifications for the Presidency, and delegating to the Federal Legislature the matter of fixing the percentage of allowable foreign ownership in nationalized economic activities.
Pimentel also outlined the current efforts to solve problems of the country under the current constitution, such as providing free tuition to students in SUCs, providing free irrigation for farmers, providing free health insurance for indigent patients, and putting an end to “endo”, among others.
Pimentel also highlighted his “Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice” Bill, which would give local governments a greater share in national revenues and increasing the pool of resources that is the source of this share to give local government units more resources to deal with the increased responsibilities they bear under the Local Government Code, which was authored by his father, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr.
Towards the end of his speech, Pimentel emphasized that the country will remain one country under one constitution, represented by one flag, and protected by one armed forces under Federalism.