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Can federalism be the solution to the Mindanao conflict?
Federalism was the proposed solution to the current growing unrest in the southern region of Mindanao, according to Senator Aquilino Pimentel. The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) held a media forum last August 8 at the Club Filipino to discuss Pimentel’s resolution calling for a shift in systems of government.
The resolution, which called for a shift from the current unitary system of government to that of a federalist system. Such a shift would involve another move towards Charter Change, as it would require changing several articles in the Constitution to accommodate the shift.
Pimentel filed the joint resolution in Senate last April 23, 2008, which he co-wrote together with Senators Edgardo Angara, Juan Ponce Enrile, Gregorio Honasan and Panfilo Lacson. He proposed the creation of 11 federal states within the Philippines—4 in Luzon and Visayas respectively, and 3 in Mindanao.
Amongst his other recommendations also included the separation of centers of power throughout the country, maintaining the executive branch in Manila whilst moving the legislature to the Visayas and the judiciary to Mindanao.
Pimentel stressed that his federalism proposal was not a panacea for all the current problems plaguing the southern region. He pointed out that the proposal was meant to address only two problems: speeding up economic development, and addressing unrest in the south.
The forum was held amidst the on-going uproar over the cancelled signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD).
The Islam and Democracy Media Forums, which started in July 2007, are aimed towards bringing specific issues that affect the Muslim community to the media.