Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson (left) with blogger, Drew Olivar (Image grabbed from Mocha Uson official FB page)
MANILA, Philippines – Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson drew the public’s ire for a controversial video on federalism.
Uson and a friend, blogger Drew Olivar, were shown laughing while Olivar was singing and dancing lewdly to a song with the lyrics: “I-pepe, i-pepe, i-dede, i-dede, i-pepe-pepe-pepederalismo,” supposedly to promote the country’s shift to a federal form of government.
Senator Francis Pangilinan in a tweet said the administration should accost Uson for “disrespecting” federalism, a cause that the Duterte administration is strongly advocating.
He also called on Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to explain why he is allowing such actions under his office.
Senator Koko Pimentel said he was disappointed at having Uson in the said campaign as he expected that authorities on the matter such as members of the Consultative Committee would spearhead the federalism drive. He suggests that Uson should keep off the federalism campaign.
“Hindi ko lubos akalain na bababuyin pala nila ang kawsa ng pederalismo. Ilayo si Mocha sa pederalismo. Magaral muna siya ng mabuti. Mag-leave muna siya.
He also slammed the Assistant Secretary for the wrongful content of the supposed campaign material.
In a script reading, Olivar mentioned countries such as the US, France and Singapore as among those under a federal form of government. Among the three, US is the only one using a federal form of government. France, however, is under a unitary semi‑presidential constitutional republic while Singapore is under a parliamentary republic.
Meanwhile, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay claimed that the government is not serious in promoting federalism in using Uson as a chief propagandist. He said that Uson’s action reflects the President’s position as she works for the President.
Senator Chiz Escudero said such an attempt to attract the public attention on such an important issue is an act of desperation.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said that what Uson and her friend did could just be a joke. But reacting on the manner it is presented, Sotto said “theatrics” will definitely not work for such a serious topic as federalism. — Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson as an executive of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Based on the list of presidential appointees released by Malacañang on Monday, the pro-Duterte blogger was appointed last Sept. 23 as Deputy Executive Director V or Deputy Administrator of OWWA.
OWWA is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment in-charge of assisting and addressing concerns of Filipinos with their foreign employers abroad.
She will be assuming the post vacated by Arnel Ignacio who resigned in February.
Uson resigned from her post in the Presidential Communications Operations Commission (PCOO) in October 2018 to run as a party-list representative in the May 2019 midterm elections.
Prior to her appoint to the PCOO, she had a brief stint as a member of the Movie and Television Review Classification Board (MTRCB) in January 2017. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte made no mention of federalism and charter change in his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22 (Monday).
Since 2016, Duterte has been pushing Congress to pass the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution and the shift to federalism government. But in his 2019 SONA, he skipped these issues when he addressed lawmakers of the 18th Congress.
In a media interview after his speech, Duterte explained it was not the proper time to tackle the issue. He also said that the shift to a federal form of government could be up for the next president to complete.
“Federalism is good but there are certain things that need to be very clear. It devolves a lot to the local government. It’s something that the President, not I… I suppose it could come after me,” he said.
The president further said that the federal system needs to have a strong president to put the country together.
“With regard to federal, it’s a very loose structure. One has a lot of power locally. So, the president will have to have it until such time that we have perfected it. There has to be a strong president with the same powers now,” he said.
“I’m out of it because I think it will pass beyond my time,” he added.
Duterte has been pushing for federalism ever since he became president three years ago.
It was among his many campaign promises, believing the shift would bring lasting peace and prosperity in the country particularly in Mindanao.
When prodded, the chief executive said he is still pushing for federalism but its discussion is “better left in conferences that are not allowed to be open to the public.”
He added that he preferred a one-time overhaul of the Constitution, rather than amending it by provision.
MANILA, Philippines – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Founding Chairman Nur Misuari has threatened to go to war against the government if the proposed shift to federalism is rejected, President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Wednesday.
Duterte met with Misuari in Malacañang on Tuesday night upon the latter’s return from his trip to Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. This was already their second meeting in less than a month since the formal ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
The BOL was the result of the government’s negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which was established by former MNLF members.
“Sabi ni Misuari kagabi (Misuari told me last night), if you do not give it [federalism] to me, let me be very honest. I will go to war,” Duterte said during a campaign sortie of the PDP-Laban in Marikina City on Wednesday.
The President said he assured Misuari that he understands his stand but the approval of the proposal as well as the type of the federal system to be used depends on Congress. The 1987 Philippine Constitution would also have to be amended to enable the shift to federalism.
Duterte also said that a panel will be formed between the government and MNLF for the negotiations.
“Let’s form a panel because you have to inform the people. We cannot negotiate secretly here. Sabi ko, (I told him) day-to-day they will be briefed kung ano ang outcome (about the outcome). How gusto mong ma-apply ‘yang federal system sa gusto mo (how do you want the federal system to be applied). Will it be like the BOL or a different type?” he said.
Malacañang, meanwhile, denied allegations that Duterte’s move to reveal Misuari’s warning is meant to influence the Congress and the public to approve the proposed federalism.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President only wanted to let the public know about the importance of the bill.
“He responded to that and said, if it fails, we will be dying together. Ibig sabihin, lalabanan kita, ‘yun ang ibig sabihin ni President, lalabanan mo gobyerno, eh di lalabanan din kita, (it means, I will fight against you, that was what the President meant. If you go against the government then I will also fight you.)” Panelo said.
Although the MNLF’s threat is serious, Panelo said that Misuari has also expressed hope that federalism will be realized during Duterte’s term.
The shift to federalism is one of Duterte’s campaign promises.
The House of Representatives had passed its version of the proposed Charter Amendment while the Senate has yet to tackle the bill. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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