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Increasing Public Awareness on Federalism and Decentralisation

Information Exchange and Study Visit on Federalism in Germany

Bayerischer Landtag

In support of the Philippine government's public information drive on federalism and constitutional reform in 2016, the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), in cooperation with the Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance (PILG), supported education and information activities on federalism.  The main objective was to provide broader and deeper knowledge of the philosophy and the principles of federalism as a form of government and help key representatives of government and members of society gain a better and more comprehensive understanding of federalism.

Activities included a public forum, a youth camp and, with the support of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), a seven-member Philippine delegation to Germany as part of the “Information Exchange and Study Visit on Federalism.”  The delegates comprise the pool of core group experts who, equipped with increased knowledge on federalism, help in the further dissemination of salient features and principles on federalism, promoting public awareness and understanding on the topic and help in the recognition of a unique form of federalism that is best suited to the Philippine context.

Forum on Federalism in Davao City


From 2017 to 2019, information activities were conducted in Luzon, in Visayas and in Mindanao.  To help participants gain a better understanding of federalism as it is applied in other countries, an international expert was invited to speak in two series of fora and conferences and a series of workshops with media practitioners.  Three seminar-workshops for media practitioners were organised in collaboration with the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).  Additionally, fifteen fora were held in different regions in the country with support from various government and non-government entities, including public and private academic institutions, civil society and media organisations.  Participants comprised local elective officials, media, representatives of non-government organisations and special interest groups, and academia.

A limited number of copies of the late Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.’s book, “Federalizing the Philippines: A Primer,” which embodies his proposal for the country’s adoption of the federal system was published and distributed to participants during activities.  A flyer outlining main features of the draft federal constitution of the Consultative Committee was also printed and distributed.

“Federalizing the Philippines: A Primer”


With the help of the PILG, the Foundation supported the attendance of a total of nine participants to the European Research Academy’s two-week Winter School on Federalism and Governance program (2017 to 2020, 2022-online and 2023) held in Austria and in Italy.  In 2019, two Philippine representatives participated in the Canterbury Christ Church 2019 held in Kent, United Kingdom.

This collaboration led to the publication in 2020 of the first Philippine volume of “Shades of Federalism,” which, amongst five, featured two articles on the country’s federalism initiative by two members of the PILG’s pool of core group experts.  Meanwhile, a total of four participants attended the International Munich Federalism Days (2017 and 2019) held in Bavaria, Germany.

In the 2020-2022 project cycle in the midst of the global health situation, online and eventually, hybrid and in-person activities were held.  These comprised series of online seminars, including the Pimentel Institute Memorial Lecture Series, which discussed “Bayanihan Federalism,” and other activities, which took up topics relating to decentralisation and local governance.  Podcasts expounding these topics were published.  One activity convened youth leaders online to discuss current and possible future initiatives in their communities and in the broader society.  In 2021, the PILG was amongst the collaborators for the Scholastic Press Outreach Program on media and information literacy organised by the PPI with HSF’s support.  Conducted through academic institutions nationwide on a regular basis, this seminar series was participated in by students and educators.  

The HSF-PILG partnership also supported the participation of local as well as international experts in three international online dialogues on federalism as speakers, that were organised by collaborating partners.  The Foundation provided PILG with computer equipment to help facilitate preparation, organisation and execution of online activities.  The PILG continues to publish regular newsletters on the Institute’s projects and its joint activities with the HSF. 

After the Philippines' general election last 09 May 2022, PILG observed renewed interest in the Philippine legislature on the federalism initiative and, consequently, the need for a continuing conduct of information activities on the topic.  It convened area experts on federalism to develop information material in the form of a module entitled Federalism 101.  This is designed to explain the fundamental principles of federalism in language easily understandable to the public, and especially, college students and young leaders, who are or will soon be of voting age.  The regular conduct of activities using the module is planned to be held in cooperation with its partners, including academic institutions for the intended beneficiaries.