In his New Year's message, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez pushed for Filipinos to "work together . . . and move our country forward" to change the country's system of government from presidential to federal.
The federal system can help put an end to poverty, he said, and it is "only through federalism" that the country can "break the barriers of a fatally flawed Manila-centrist government."
"Let us take the first of the many giant steps we, as one nation, must undertake to effect a paradigm shift . . . it is only through federalism that we can break the barriers of a fatally flawed Manila-centrist government to one that grants political and economic autonomy to all of our country's regions,” he said.
The proposal to shift the system of government has been met with mixed reactions from different sectors and previously sparked a tiff between lawmakers who either wanted to effect changes in the country’s Constitution through a constituent assembly or a constitutional convention.
Critics have said that it may be better to only implement specific reforms, instead of overhauling the whole government structure.
According to President Rodrigo Duterte, he believes that federalism would ease the way to peace with Muslim insurgents, and is the country’s last chance to settle armed conflict.