We want federalism - Davao farmers, fisherfolks, IPs, Moro groups

“We support federalism!”
This was the cry of farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous people and Muslims from all over Davao Region.

“The farmers and fisherfolks are really committed to support federalism. We are one for federalism, because in federalism, we will have equal rights and enjoy what the rich people enjoy,” said Dolores Gaceta Lazarus, vice president of the Magsasakang Progresibo Marketing Cooperatives and the provincial director of the Hukbong Federal Movement of Davao del Norte. She further lamented that farmers and fisherfolks are currently suffering. This, according to Concom Commissioner Eddie Alih is the problem of the current unitary system of government which federalism will help find the solution to.

Meanwhile Fulung Dan Alim, founding president of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance Movement (IPAM), believes that federalism will empower cultural leaders and hopes for a provision for an IP federal state in the new constitution. “We are one with the advocacy of the President to change the current government to a federal one,” said Alim.

Federalism will be the realization of Muslim empowerment, according to the Kilusang Bangsamoro para sa Pederalism Convenor Sami Buat. “We are thankful na recognaized ang Bangsamoro sa bagong constitution, but we also hope that Muslim communities outside the Bangsamoro will be recognized under federalism,”. said Buat.

On August 2, 2018, farmers, fisher folks, indigenous tribes people and religous groups flocked to the Pederalismoserye townhall meeting with basic sectors to air out concerns regarding the proposal for a federal shift, which according to them, have been answered during the meeting. It was explained to the Davauenos that federalism would empower the tribal groups and bring pro-poor government programs to farmers, fisherfolks and those stricken with poverty. The Consultative Committee’s draft constitution provides that the urban poor, farmers, fisher folks, IPs and other minority groups will be represented in Congress under a federal setup.

Federalism also aims to strengthen IPs through provisions of rights and welfare found in the Concom’s draft new Constitution, according to Concom Commissioner Eddie Alih. This is aside from IP representation in the Regional Assembly. “I believe that we are for federalism here...  We are happy when Concom finished the draft Constitution,” said Compostela Valley Province Governor Jayvee Tyron L. Uy.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday brought to Davao City members of the Concom and political analysts to speak to the basic sectors about federalism. Meanwhile, thousands of Davauenos filled the Rizal Park in Davao City to attend the rally for federalism, leading to the success of the DILG’s 4th roadshow in Davao.

Federalism would be the most fundamental change that Filipinos will experience in this lifetime, according to the DILG. “Ito ang pinakamalaking pagbabago na pwedeng mangyari sa ating panahon,” said DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya.

The DILG’s Federalism roadshow is the Department’s means of reaching out to the public in order to increase awareness on President Rodrigo Duterte’s push for constitutional reform.