Entitled "Forum on Federalism: Possible Shift of the Philippines to a Federal System of Government," the activity was attended by around one hundred representatives from various provincial government agencies and offices, the academe, and the private sector, including civil society groups and non-government organisations.
The forum provided the participants with the opportunity to share concerns about the country's possible shift to a federal system of government and seek clarification on key points of the proposed changes to the Constitution as well as the process of the proposed shift itself.
A Member of the Consultative Committee, Senator Pimentel discussed the main changes proposed in the Draft Charter in the local dialect with the end in view of helping the participants understand the reasons behind said changes and how these may affect their lives and the governance of the country as a whole.
Vice Governor Jo Kristine Revil of the Province of Masbate explained the general steps that may be undertaken for the transition from the current government structure to sub-national units as states or regions for which the mechanisms for the governance therefor would eventually need to be worked out in detail.
Questions raised during the open forum centered around the mechanics of power sharing and of resource sharing, including guidelines for implementation, the "Equalisation Fund," the funding needed to realise the proposed shift and the effect a federal form of government may have on political dynasties.
In conclusion, Sen. Pimentel clarified that the Draft Charter is yet a recommendation and that the final decision lies with the people.
As a reference material for the discussion, an illustrated outline of the recommendations in the Draft Charter was distributed to the participants. This came in the form of a flyer that was prepared by the Partido ng mga Technical Assistants and Administrative Technical Assistant (PATATAS) of the Consultative Committee and was printed with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The half-day activity was organised by the Office of the Vice Governor of Masbate in cooperation with the Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance (PILG) with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Preceded by a similar activity held in Cagayan de Oro City last June 2018, attended mainly by media representatives, this activity will be followed by two successive fora on the same topic to be held in Baguio City and in Cananatuan City on the 4th week of October 2018.