The proposal for a revolutionary government being pushed by supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte has reached Malacañang.
Its proponents claimed that over 17 million people have signified their support for the document calling for the country’s shift to federalism through a revolutionary government, according to a formal declaration sent to the President by the People’s National Coalition (PNC) for Revolutionary Government Towards Federalism.
PNC Secretary General Abner Malabanan said the coalition submitted its recommendation to show the President the support of the people to the initiative.
Duterte had promised to spread political power and resources by setting up a federal government through charter change.
Recently, the President opposed calls to declare a revolutionary government.
But Malabanan said his group believed that Filipinos should invoke their “sovereign will” to push Duterte to establish a revolutionary government.
“The Filipino people have spoken. It’s the expression of popular sovereignty, and of our freedom of expression,” he told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
Malabanan, also the spokesman of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee, expressed hope that the President would consider the setting up of a revolutionary government to institute changes.
“We are optimistic that the President will support it because he is the only leader who is willing to share his power,” he said.
The House of Representatives approved a draft federal charter on third and final reading in December 2018, but the Senate rejected it.
Duterte’s allies, Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald dela Rosa, filed in December last year a resolution for both houses of Congress to convene as a Constituent Assembly to discuss limited amendments to the Constitution, specifically on provisions on democratic representation and economy.
Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd said lawmakers have discussed amending the Constitution with Duterte in November last year.
Duterte suggested amending some economic provisions and the party-list system, according to Sotto, but he thumbed down amending provisions on term extension.
The House has started discussing the proposed charter change. Resolution of Both Houses 2 proposes to “liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution,” which, according to House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, was preventing the Philippines “from becoming fully competitive with our Asian neighbors.”
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said they respect lawmakers’ decision to renew calls of charter change but stressed that the government’s top priority now was to secure and deliver coronavirus vaccines to Filipinos.
“The most pressing and most urgent concern, which requires the Executive’s full attention, is the gradual opening of the economy while safeguarding the people who are working/going back to work amid the pandemic,” he said.
In pushing for a revolutionary government, the PNC, which claims to have 12.4 million members, invoked that “sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
In its declaration, the NPC said millions of signatories “expressed support for the installation of a revolutionary government towards federalism.”
“After conducting public fora in almost all the provinces and cities nationwide, and after conducting consultation with certain segments of the military as well as the police establishment, [the group] today Feb. 22, 2021 declared and installed a revolutionary government with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the helm, leader and President of the revolutionary government,” it added.
The group said Duterte should pursue the “adoption of a new Constitution, providing for a federal form of government for our country,” as well as the “enactment of laws to put an end to illegal drugs, corruption, insurgency, criminality, poverty, political dynasty, oligarchy, electoral frauds and vote buying.”
It added that illegal drugs, corruption, criminality, insurgency and poverty should be eliminated.
“With all these problems, we cannot attain national unity and even aspire for greatness,” the group said.
The President should also strengthen the powers of the Regional Development Councils in addressing the coronavirus pandemic and build hospitals in all municipalities, cities, districts and provinces, equipped with modern and appropriate medical technologies and facilities, according to the group.
The coalition called on Duterte to purge from the government officials and employees accused of corruption, inefficiency and abuse of power if evidence warrants.
“Keeping these people in the government service is pulling down the President and the nation,” it said.
The group also stressed the need for the submission of the draft “Bayanihan Constitution” labelled as People’s Constitution for review and ratification by the people.
“This is the people’s power or will of the people following the legal maxim, that “the will of the people is the supreme law. This is the last and only chance para makamit natin ang tunay na pagbabago sa ating bansa (for us to achieve true change in the country),” it said.
Under the new government, the PNC said the Duterte should also create a commission that “will take actual possession and control of the hidden wealth of the country which is acknowledged by world leaders.”
“This will save the country from economic depression and our people from hunger and poverty,” it said.
A National Traffic Management Council should also be created to manage the worsening traffic crisis.
The group also pushed for the creation of a Department for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to focus on the welfare of OFWs, “who contributed tremendously to our economic growth.”
The NPC also wanted the President to approve measures to “address the slow pace of legislation and the slow wheel of justice that results in injustices.”
For economic fundamentals and environmental protection, the group wanted the government to adopt Agro-Industrial and Export-Oriented Economy; eliminate monopoly and promote trade liberalization; promote equal economic opportunities for all; and nationalize the ownership and operations of communication, transportation, electricity and water-works, and if necessary, engage in Public-Private Partnership.
The PNC also pushed for massive food production in government and private lands to attain national sufficiency; establishment of public markets in all municipalities; protection of the environment from illegal mining, deforestation and preservation of seashores, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water to respond to the looming water crisis.
The group also wanted the government to enhance the promotion of “cooperativism” at the barangay level, including the establishment of local cooperative banks; and train and develop local entrepreneurs to ensure the active participation of the poor and the marginalized in the development of the economy.
“Furthermore, the President as head of the revolutionary government shall appoint members of his cabinet of his choice and with the present Congress and judiciary,” the PNC said.
Duterte admitted that he could not convince everyone to support his push for federalism but noted that it would benefit the entire country through its wealth and power-sharing feature.
“It might help, it cannot guarantee prosperity kaagad (immediately) but it might help distribute the wealth of the nation among the local units,” the President said.