House leader warns of unrest if federalism talks fail

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2018 04:40 PM

MANILA - A congressional leader on Thursday warned of a revolution, saying regions could break into "separate republics" if officials failed to agree on the proposed shift to a federal form of government.

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso floated the possibility in a gathering with local executives seeking clarifications from members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s consultative committee.

Veloso, vice chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, was optimistic Congress could agree with the experts’ group on the planned federal constitution. 

"Kasi pag hindi nagkasundo, isa lang ang alternative: revolutionary government," the congressman told members of the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines (ULAP) in Manila.

(If there's no alternative, there's only one alternative: revolutionary government.)

"Kami mismo dun sa Region 8, mga Waray to e. Pag hindi nagkasundo ang national government and other stakeholders, we will declare a separate republic. Totoo po yun. And I think this is the feeling of all other regions."

(We, the people of Region 8, we are Warays. If the national government and other stakeholders fail to reach an agreement, we will declare a separate republic. That's true. And I think this is the feeling of all other regions.)

The 19-man committee headed by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno is set to begin daily meetings on Feb. 19.

The group plans to finish its draft federal charter by July 19 so the president could endorse it to Congress in his State of the Nation Address on July 23.

Its output will be recommendatory and legislators plan to draft their own version as a constituent assembly.

"Kailangan magtrabaho na ang consultative committee. Magtatrabaho rin kami... we will be working hand in hand," Veloso said.

(The consultative committee needs to get down to work. We will start working. We will be working hand in hand.)