MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/25 July) — The Senate will move for the adoption of a federal form of government, newly installed Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Monday.
In his inaugural speech, Pimentel said the proposed shift to federalism is part of the “Program of Government for Change that your majority senators have agreed upon, that will, hopefully, lay the basis for the development and progress of our country and people”.
During the campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte had declared his plan to amend the Constitution to pave the way for a federal form of government.
Pimentel, who won the Senate top post by a vote of 20-3, announced the chamber’s legislative agenda hours before Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address.
Aside from federalism, the Senate president said they will also work for peace; support the campaign against crime, drugs and corruption; reform the taxation system; strengthen the rule of law and make the justice system work;
Reform the budget and declare a war on waste; call for sustainable and inclusive economic growth; protect the environment; deliver quality education and quality health care; fight abuse and the abusive.
“ We will focus on the needs and the situation of the helpless and impoverished members of Philippine society, especially the sick, the elderly, and the children, because they need the help of government more than the others,” he added.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who had vied for the Senate presidency, was absent when session opened at 10:00am on Monday.
Cayetano, a member of the Nacionalista Party, was Duterte’s running mate.
The Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, Duterte’s party, was founded by former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., father of the new Senate president.
At the House of Representatives, Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez was elected Speaker on Monday.
This is the first time that both Houses of Congress are led by lawmakers from Mindanao. (MindaNews)