Forum of Federations in the Philippines

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Zeroing In on the Best Practices of Federalism – Forum on Federalism and Constitutional Reform

On July 15 in Manila, Forum of Federations Director Asia and Australia, Phillip Gonzalez, presented at the Forum on Federalism and Constitutional Reform, titled “Zeroing-In on the Best Practices of Federalism”. The event which was hosted by PDP Laban and supported by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines was opened by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Senate President, Republic of the Philippines and Mr. Benedikt Seemann, Country Representative of KAS Philippines.

During the opening address, Senator Pimentel spoke of the possibility of a federal system of government to bring decision making closer to the people and serve as a means to promote more inclusive government. He mentioned that it was a significant moment for the Philippines, for its people and political leaders, as they considered implementing a federal system of government. He offered his thanks to the organizers and sponsor on behalf of participants who were keen to interact with the various experts on federal options and other federal systems.

Senator Aquilino Koko Pimentel III, Senate President, Republic of the Philippines opens the Forum on Federalism and Constitutional Reform
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Senate President, Republic of the Philippines opens the Forum on Federalism and Constitutional Reform

Mr. Gonzalez presented on the best practices of federalism in Australia and Canada. He began by outlining general principles of federal systems and the governance options that multi-level systems provide; their ability to protect and promote local or regional interests and to provide services for the specific needs of citizens in a diverse nation. He then detailed unique elements of the Australian and Canadian federations, their constitutional arrangements, fiscal federal powers, intergovernmental relations as well as federal approaches to accommodating diversity.

This was followed by an open forum of discussion, opening the floor to questions about the Australian and Canadian case studies which was moderated by Mr. Jonathan Malaya, Executive Director of the PDP Laban, Federalism Institute.

Mr. Jonathan Malaya, Executive Director of the PDP Laban, Federalism Institute.
Mr. Jonathan Malaya, Executive Director of the PDP Laban, Federalism Institute.

The conference also featured presentations by Benny Bacani, Executive Director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance who presented on the potential impacts of federalism on the peace process.

Mr. Benny Bacani, Executive Director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance
Mr. Benny Bacani, Executive Director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance

This was followed by KAS Country Representative Mr. Seemann, who presented on best federal practices in Germany offering another comparative federal case study.

Mr. Benedikt Seemann, Country Representative of KAS Philippines presenting on German federal best practice.
Mr. Benedikt Seemann, Country Representative of KAS Philippines presenting on German federal best practice.

The Philippines is considering a constitutional change and the adoption a federal system of government, these case studies were presented for participants and officials as they debate these options. The forum was attended by more than 250 officials.

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