More Negrense support for federalism seen

Published October 18, 2017, 10:00 PM
By Mark L. Garcia

Bacolod City — President Duterte’s move to shift to a federal government is gaining more support in Bacolod and Negros Occidental.

Martin Diño, a strong Duterte ally and former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman, was in Negros Occidental Monday to seek Negrenses’ support for the move towards federalism, a move that will keep the two Negros provinces together and create a free port zone that could generate thousands of jobs.

Diño was accompanied by Local Government undersecretaries Jesus Hinlo and Emily Padilla, and Social Welfare Undersecretary Virginia Orogo, who like Diño are officials for the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee.

They joined Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia at the Bacolod City Government Center, and a forum on federalism in Bago City Tuesday.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Leonardia have announced their support for a federal government.

Marañon believes the abolished Negros Island Region is a good model for establishing a federal state.

Earlier this month, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led the oath-taking of about 13,000 Negrenses here as new members of PDP-Laban. The separate oath-taking ceremonies were led by Leonardia and 3rd District Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.

Diño said the President wants the change to federalism fast-tracked and put to a vote in a referendum during the barangay elections next year or the mid-term polls in 2019.

He said they are going around the country to explain the advantage of a federalist state, especially to Filipinos living outside Metro Manila where development has been focused for years.