STATEMENT: Balay Mindanaw on the Shift to Federalism

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Federalism has been one of the key advocacies of Balay Mindanaw since we began our journey in 1996. We were instrumental in the establishment and growth of Federalism movements such as Lihuk Pideral Mindanaw (LPM) and the Citizens’ Movement for a Federal Philippines (CMFP).

Building on the wisdom of Nene Pimentel, Reuben Canoy, Datu Michael Mastura and the late Rey Magno Teves and other Mindanaon Champions of Federalism, we have seriously analyzed our history and situation, studied and researched on the various models, and have offered our own concrete proposals of solving the inequities, underdevelopment and unpeace in our country. We remain open to principled, frank and constructive dialogue and collaboration with Federalism advocates and movements.

We continue to believe and hope that a shift to Federalism can indeed provide a structural and systemic opportunity for the Mindanaons and Filipinos in general to confront and correct the unjust skewed relationship between the center and the periphery, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless.

We continue to believe that Federalism can indeed create and offer more spaces for the peoples and communities to empower themselves politically, economically and culturally. However, we express alarm over the proposed substance and mode of Charter Change favored by both the Legislative and Executive.

Although it is one of the options allowed by the 1987 Constitution, ConAss is not a democratic mode of changing the Constitution. It denies genuine people’s participation. It is vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by vested interest groups, especially by traditional politicians.

We also express alarm over the two most prominent proposals as both promote consolidation of powers into a strong president which may open the doors to the rise of another dictatorship.

We also express alarm over the proposed transitory provisions that propose among others the postponement of elections (NoEl) and term extension of the current elected politicians.

We call for more spaces allowing genuine dialogue and maximum participation of peoples and communities in the constitution writing and state building.

The promise of subsidiarity, solidarity and democracy under a Federal set up is best attained and nurtured through and by democratic processes.

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