LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 4 (PNA) -- More than 500 members of various political parties in Bicol formally took their oath on Thursday morning here in this city, before House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as new members of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which had as its standard bearer in the May elections President Rodrigo Duterte.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal and the councilors of this city led the new PDP-Laban members from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Sorsogon in taking their oath at the Legazpi Convention Center, 11 a.m. today.
Rosal said the occasion provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of empowering the provinces.
He said it was clear to the new PDP-Laban members that the oath-taking was not for “politicking” but as part of an “advocacy for change.”
“Today is a testament of our unity (for that change),” said Rosal.
Alvarez spoke to the new PDP-Laban members from Bicol and told them he was “happy and thankful all of you are joining the President.”
He said there is a lot to be done in the six years of Mr. Duterte’s presidency.
Alvarez cited why the ruling party “strongly advocates” the shifting from a unitary form of government to a federal form of government.
Citing a recent survey that showed only 30 percent of Filipinos want federalism, he said many Filipinos still do not understand the benefits that would come when their areas become part of the federal setup.
“I am inspired with that 30 percent because many Filipinos still don’t understand yet...” he said.
Alvarez said federalism is expected to alleviate the “misery” of an increasing number of Filipinos mired in poverty.
He said “they,” who are at the helm in the unitary form of government, “control the happiness and misery of the rest of the country.”
Alvarez explained that under the federal set-up, the various areas or regions would be the one who will have control.
Referring to the regions, he said “we (will have) control over our natural resources, our economy and we (will) chart our own destiny.”
“That’s the difference,” he added.
Alvarez said with the proposed shift of government, 80 percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) will be retained by the region, which he referred to as the “state.”
“The remaining 20 percent (of the IRA) will be given to the federal government.”
He said with the resources of the region and through “good tax laws”, opportunities will be “created” for the people.
“Definitely investors will come to you.”
He added that those from the regions need no longer come to Manila to find jobs because the “opportunities” are in the regions.
Alvarez said progress will come to the region because it will have control over its power generation sources and marine and forest resources.
The local chief executives who were newly sworn in as members of PDP-Laban came from the Bicol provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Sorsogon.
Local officials from the island province of Masbate will have a different schedule for their oath-taking, it was learned.(PNA) LAP/GVR/CBD