Not even half of the 290 members of the House of Representatives showed up at a forum on federalism organized by House officials.
The Federalism 101 Forum was hosted by the Office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the administration PDP-Laban's Federalism Institute, the Congressional Planning and Budget Research Department, and the Local Government Development Foundation.
Instead of congressmen, many of those in attendance were staff of lawmakers. Alvarez himself skipped the forum, with his Deputy Speaker Ferdinand Hernandez delivering his speech.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, who was one of the few congressmen who attended the forum, also wondered why many of his colleagues were absent.
Evardone said he attended the forum himself because he wanted to understand the implications of federalism. The Samar representative said he has reservations on the matter especially with regard to funds for poor provinces which need support from the central government.
Evardone also revealed that the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments will start its roadshow of public consultations this month in Dagupan, Bacolod, Davao and Tacloban.
The forum featured briefings from political scientists and policy experts.