Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos expressed optimism as talks about the shift to federalism and charter change start to dominate congressional discussions.
During the last day of the session of Congress last year, initial talks on charter change has already started.
“I would surmise that charter change and all issues, concerns and matters – both procedurally and substantively about it, will definitely be big this year,” he said.
“And on top of the agenda is, of course, the shift to federalism.”
In its broadestsense, federalism is a type of government in which the power is divided between the national government and other governmental units. “Not delving into the substantive aspects of this form of government, as it would entail an entire discussion, the point I want to drive at now is that federalism requires a strong local government,” the lawmaker said.
“A strong local government, for me, is that which can stand on its own: in terms of governance, economy, public service, internal security, justice system and law enforcement, among others. And we do this by strengthening our laws and institutions.”
Relampagos is pushing for laws that seek to strengthen local institutions in the province. Among his proposed legislations are for the creation of additional regional trial courts, satellite offices of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and a branch of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the province, among others.
He is also pushing for the creation of a tourism enterprise zone and the governance of the loon upthrust to complement the boosting tourism and economic activity in the province as well as the increase of bed capacity of the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH). Not to mention the commemoration of special days, education opportunity for indigenous peoples, rationalization of the NIPAS coverage in Cabilao and Sandingan islands and others.
Relampagos said that the best way to prepare for the future is to be prepared now. To be self-sufficient is the way to go. “Discussions on federalism will soon be all over the place. But while the country is busy changing the national political landscape, my priority will be on strengthening our local institutions in the event that federalism is adopted. If and when we shift to federalism, Bohol will be prepared,” the third termer veteran lawmaker said.