The Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) on Thursday, September 14, said it is proposing the shift to a federal parliamentary system, adding that Congress should soon start deliberating the amendments in the 1987 Constitution that will pave the way for federalization.
Lito Monico Lorenzana, President of the CDPI, said they will be presenting this proposal to the 25-man commission to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
CDPI is a political, non-profit organization, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Philippines, a German political foundation which promotes political education initiatives worldwide.
“We want a system where power and authority are not centralized but shared between the federal government and the states — we call these regions, sub-states,” Lorenzana said in a press briefing in Malacañan.
“We have several models of federalism already submitted to Congress. We are presenting to you today a model borne out of years of discernment and study,” he said.
According to Lorenzana, the CDPI’s proposal adopted and updated the 2005 Consultative Commission documents, which they call “The Centrist Proposal.”
“In our proposal, the Centrist Proposal, the legislative and the executive are fused… We fuse them in a unicameral parliament, one body. And the head of government is the Prime Minister — with his Cabinet recruited among the members of parliament,” Lorenzana said.
He said the President, as head of state, shall be elected from among the members of parliament and shall have a five-year term while the Prime Minister or the head of government will have no term limits but can be booted out of office through a vote of no confidence, not through the process of impeachment.
Lorenzana said the CDPI has four preconditions while revising the 1987 Constitution: political party reform, enactment of a law banning political dynasties; the passage of a real all-encompassing Freedom of Information Act; and electoral reforms.
“We penalize turncoatism or the switching of political parties, thebalimbings, the political butterflies,” Lorenzana said.
As for electoral reforms, he said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) must be reformed to remove all quasi-judicial work and transfer electoral contests and protests to the judiciary.
“These four conditions have a high probability of passage while we have a President endowed with tremendous political capital and have the political will to act decisively,” he said.
Lorenzana said the CDPI has also proposed timelines, which urges Congress to start deliberating amendments in the 1987 Constitution from October this year up to February 2019.
The second stage will be from May of 2020 to 2025, wherein the first parliamentary elections under the new federal Constitution shall be conducted not later than May 2020 “to organize the first unicameral parliament under the newly-ratified Constitution with a term of five years up to 2025.”
From May 2025 to 2030, the second regular parliamentary elections under the new Constitution shall be held by 2025 with a five-year term to 2030. The country will then have a new Prime Minister and a new President, he said.
“That is the shift to parliamentary… But the process of federalization goes on,” Lorenzana said.
In terms of federalization, Lorenzana said the Centrist Position calls for 11 autonomous territories.
The 12th autonomous territory, the Bangsamoro, will be constituted ahead of the Bangsamoro because of the Bangsamoro Basic Law enacted by Congress previous to the plebiscite, Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said that by 2028, autonomous territories may already operate like federal states.
“They can raise their own funds. They can come up with their own resources. They can come up with their own taxes and spend for themselves. It is a kind of federalism we aspire for where the people from cities and regions shall negotiate among themselves and arrive a decision to set up their own federal state,” he said.
Lorenzana said the process of shifting to a federal type of government may take some time, and would need massive political education, especially among millennials.
“The Centrist roadmap to federalism is designed to mitigate the shock to the body politic arising from the purging of traditional political practices to the immediate passage of reform laws now pending in Congress,” he said.
Palace welcomes upbeat investor confidence
In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said Malacañang welcomes the 182.7 percent increase in foreign direct investments (FDIs).
“Foreign direct investments or FDIs grew by a 182.7 percent to US$674 million in June 2017, up from US$238 million from the same month in 2016,” Ablan said.
“This latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas figure shows that our growth momentum is on track and we expect this would be sustained further by public infrastructure spending, consistent with the Duterte’s administration target of spending of 5.3 percent of GDP this year for infrastructure,” he said.
Ablan meanwhile announced that the Department of Finance’s one billion parametric insurance pilot project for 25 disaster-prone provinces is already in place.
“The premium payments finance through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund will be categorized by disaster-specific and province-specific areas,” Ablan said.
Five hundred million pesos will be allocated to disaster-specific premiums, wherein 79.2 percent will be given to typhoon-related disasters and 20.8 percent for earthquake-related disasters.
The other P500 million will be allocated to province-specific premiums and will be split equally amongst the 25 provinces at P20 million each.###PND