Senator Cynthia Villar said she has yet to really figure out what federalism is all about, at the same time, revealed the Senate may get to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) with some modifications soon.
Villar talked to Bohol media yesterday at the sidelines of the general assembly of the Bohol Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative at the Loay Gymnasium.
The senator said she has yet to get a grasp about the concept of federalism. She even dared one of the members of the media present if he understood federalism.
However, the senator said it is possible for the BBL to get past the senate by June, rather talk about federalism.
Federalism is a hot topic since it is being pushed by President Duterte and his party mates at the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
The idea is to create separate states in federated in an effort to efficiently manage the Philippines based on the federal systems elsewhere in the world.
With Villar shooting down the chances of federalism at the Senate for now, all eyes are focused on the BBL, which will create a separate entity in the so-called Bangsamoro Homeland.
The BBL was pushed during the previous administration but was shot down by legislators. Now, a new attempt comes to legislate a government that is suitable to the people of the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.
Also, Villar said the issue on divorce will get rough sailing at the Senate following the passage of the bill in the Lower House.
She said the divorce law can be a touchy subject and most congressmen may not feel the national issues the way senators perceive things.
Congresspersons have a local constituency, which may not reflective of the general national sentiment on the issue of divorce.
COOPERATIVES CLOSE TO HER HEART
Villar said she makes it a point to talk to members of cooperatives especially those who are trying to alleviate the economic status of common folks.
The senator was the guest speaker during the assembly of the cooperative, which has branched in various parts of the province.
She said cooperatives are key components of her advocacy on poverty alleviation.
The senator pointed that she has been pushing to reduce poverty with the help of the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance.
She supports any enterprise or cooperative which mission is to alleviate poverty especially in the countrysides.
The senator said there is a need to give better support to micro and small businesses. About 95 percent of businesses in the country are micro and small. About four percent is medium and the remainder are big businesses.
She also seeks to help the farmers and fisherfolks to improve their economic standing. Villar is the chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture in the Senate.
She said there are several factors that remain unresolved that could solve the poor situation of farmers and fisherfolks.
There is a need to put up, she said, a farm school, to teach farmers the latest in farming technology and also financial literacy among others. She also pushed for farmers and fisherfolks to get better access to soft loans and avoid the usurious 5-6 loan scheme.
As talks about federalism heats up, many are engaging in scams trying to take advantage of the issue and enticing people to join a cause, with some money involved.
Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año cautioned on Wednesday, at the sidelines of the first anniversary commemoration of the incursion of the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga town, the public not to believe any gathering about federalism where money is being collected in exchange of membership.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has not authorized anybody to come up with a campaign on federalism in the local government levels.
DILG Assistant Sec. Jonathan Malaya has been the one tasked to reach out to people about the concept of federalism.
Malaya was in Bohol in February to talk about federalism among barangay leaders during the provincial congress of the Liga ng mga Barangay.
Año said no one should be allowed to collect to become a member in any federalism group. Any attempt to do so, said Año, is illegal. He encouraged the people to spill the beans and tell authorities of any attempt to create fraud through scams.
A leader of a so-called federalism group was arrested in Ubay several weeks ago, due to lack of permit for organizing a rally. The so-called “People’s Congress” was allegedly led by a certain Celestino Estimada Jr. The group tried to entice people in Ubay, but the police were quick to crackdown on the activity.
Earlier, Año aired a warning to the people not to fall into the trap of getting enticed with juicy positions in government in exchange for membership with a group. (Dave S. Albarado)