Random Thoughts : The key is effective info drive

“Senators remain lukewarm to Charter Change… In the next 10 months, as the Constituent Assembly deliberates on the proposed constitution, an information campaign may be able to overcome the present public opposition which in turn, could also convince the senators to review their own opposition and see the benefits of a new federal system of government” (EDITORIAL, Manila Bulletin, August 7, 2018).

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To improve the administration’s information campaign on federalism, an inter-agency, task force has been organized to handle this matter. As to who is the top man or “conductor” of the task force has not been announced to the general public. Is it Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea or DILG Secretary Eduardo Año? Whoever he is, the very important thing is that this top man or “conductor” or better yet “ground commander” must be full time on this very crucial job for the coming say ten months. If he will not be able to focus on the challenging task to win the hearts and minds of our people for charter change (Cha-Cha) and federalism, we doubt very much if the administration will succeed in this difficult undertaking.

There are also the issues of the kind of materials to be used and the style of delivery especially in their barangay sorties. The goal is for the participants to be converted to federalists who know the needed details on a federal system for better appreciation. In this regards, they better use tested and proven materials and style of delivery of veteran Davao federalists. Their materials must consist of two modules and the method of delivery must be participative. In the first module the objective is to convert immediately the participants to federalism. In the second module, the objective is for the participants to know the basic details of a federal system and its benefits to them. This means convert first then educate later rather than the academician style of educate first and hopefully convert them later.

Hence, this newly created task force should not try to “reinvert the wheel” in their information campaign. Just go to Davao City and look for the “Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago” or KPP group and ask their help in this regard. Simple. “Bakit po kayo magpapakahirap sa bagay na ito?” Accept that you are only new in this game and need veteran federalists’ help.

The decision of the newly elected Speaker GMA to go straight convening a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) should be given a chance to revise our 1987 unresponsive Constitution. We do hope and pray that indeed Con-Ass will work in passing a draft federal constitution for approval of our people in a plebiscite in due time.

Unfortunately, we in People’s RevGov for Real Democracy Alliance (PRRDA) see this as already an exercise in futility. Why? Because the anti-Chacha and anti-federalism Liberal Party and their allies in the Senate, consider this issue as a war for political survival, (whether they admit it or not), especially in the next 2022 presidential elections. To these status quo senators, if they successfully block Cha-cha and federalism now, this will not only embarrass the present administration but will also weaken PDP-Laban in the 2022 Presidential elections. Thus, NO three-fourth votes from the Senate nor even holding a constituent assembly (Con-Ass).

Well at least we can say we did try via Con-Ass and failed. Now is the time to shift to PLAN B as the most viable option for federalism. This is revolutionary government in a democratic way, meaning with people’s mandate, for honest-to-goodness constitutional reform and shift to a federal system. Whichever way it will go, an efficient and effective federalism information/education campaign is a must now! And the main battlefield here is Luzon.

When we first learned about ConCom’s federalism proposal of 18 weak federal regions to be created in the Philippines, we immediately expressed our dismay on this and call it a recipe for disaster. Recently, the economic team of President Duterte rightly opined that such proposal will “wreak havoc to our economy” confirming our previous observation. Economic potential and viability should be one of the criteria in this regard.

Now in their information campaign on federalism, the inter-agency task force should not use the federalism proposal of ConCom as the federalism model of the Duterte’s administration or else our people will outwardly reject it. Consider the ConCom’s federalism proposal only as one of the many federalism models being proposed which is strongly criticized by Malacañang economic team. The task force must be transparent on this matter, or else they may lose their credibility. Currently, there are several federalism proposals ranging from 2-18 federal regions to be created in the Philippines.
More pressure on the inter-agency task force from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Per recent report: “Federalism is generally `okey’ for the defense and military establishments, Lorenzana (however) noted that many Filipinos still appear to be lacking information on that type of government.
This writer also agrees with Mayor Sara that there is “no need for Mocha (Asec. Uson) to apologize nor take a leave of absence due to her controversial. `Pepedederalism’ jingle-video.” Let’s just brief Asec Uson on federalism and use her in our social media. We volunteer to do this job for Asec. Uson. Let’s not overreach on Uson’s slip. After we have briefed Asec. Uson, she can then design federalism videos appropriate particularly for the millennials and common Filipinos accompanied by teaching guides.
Latest news report was that “President Duterte himself would lead the start of the information drive on the proposed federal constitution.” Now, that will really be a good sign of the seriousness of the administration to push for charter change and federalism. This is the “energy drink” pro-Federal Filipinos thirsty for.

Lastly, DILG should undertake its own nationwide surveys quarterly to properly guide this administration’s push for federalism. Weak areas can then be identified and addressed appropriately.

Posted in Opinion