WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy in cooperation with the US-Philippines Society organized a roundtable discussion on federalism, featuring Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA) CEO Raul L. Lambino on 08 November 2017.
Secretary Lambino, a strong advocate of federalism, is also the Vice President for International Affairs of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Party.
In the discussion attended by US business representatives and Filipino community leaders, Secretary Lambino highlighted the advantages of having a federal system of government, its objectives, and the proposed model of Philippine federalism.
“The objectives of federalism will be to activate the regions’ participation in national decision making, to accelerate economic development of the regions, achieve peace in Mindanao, and allow the preservation of culture and the languages of the various ethno-linguistic groups,” said Secretary Lambino.
The Secretary further explained the administrative structure of the regional governments and the division of powers under the proposed model.
“This is how we envision the Philippines to be. This is not a proposal that is not subject to modification, but we are proposing the establishment of 11 regional governments in the country,” the Secretary said.
Defense, national security, foreign policy, currency, banking, and monetary policy, customs and national taxation, and international trade powers will be retained by the federal government, while the regional governments will be responsible for the development of the region and for providing basic services to its constituents.
Secretary Lambino also highlighted the principle of solidarity wherein the welfare of each region is the business of all the other regions in order to ensure that the basic services rendered to the people are more or less of the same quality or standard wherever in the country they may be.
In the brief Q&A session, Secretary Lambino fielded a wide range of questions including on the possible impact of federalism to Mindanao, the main roadblocks in pushing for federalism in the Philippines, and the government’s plan to conduct information drive campaigns to gather support for federalism nation-wide. US corporate officials were also curious about how such a shift may impact the business and investment environment in the country.
The Secretary was in the US Capital together with CEZA OIC Deputy Administrator for Planning Raymundo Roquero and CEZA Deputy Administrator for Operations Geoffrey Aldrin Cabalza, for a 3-day investment mission designed to promote the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) to various US corporations and government agencies.