By Masiding Noor Yahya
MAIGO, Lanao del Norte
Over 60 participants from different parts of Mindanao have converged at the Moh’s Beach Resort here on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, for a forum to discuss federalism amidst the clamor by many sectors for a revolutionary government as a way to federalize the Philippines in order to solve the present multi-faceted problems engulfing the country.
Datu Mohammad Nasser Canoy Abbas, leader of a few professionals who planned and organized the forum, said while we support federalism, the group is apolitical, being independent and siding no political personality or party. “Ours is supporting a move we believe for the interest of the Filipinos in general and the Mindanaoans in particular,” he said.
Abbas said Federalism is the solution to the problems besetting the Philippines.
The forum has invited private individuals whom it believes knowledgeable on the concept of federalism and its advantages than the present unitary form of government.
One of the two resource speakers Omar Solitario Ali, former mayor of the Islamic City of Marawi, discussed thoroughly how federalism could solve the country’s problems which the present system of government failed to solve.
On his part, Atty. Usmin P. Diamel, a former official of the Commission on Audit (COA) who had been assigned as COA regional director in various regions including the National Capital Region (NCR) talked on the disparity and unfair distribution of income between the national government and the regions.
Diamel said while Mindanao is remitting much income to the central government, only about 10 per cent of which returns to Mindanao in form more of development.
The forum has arrived at four things: (1) Organized the Mindanao Multi-Sectoral Caucus Council; (2) Passed and adopted two resolutions — a. Supporting Federalism, and, b. For the 2022 national elections to push through; (3) Hold larger assembly next year; and (4) Link with other federalists movers for the realization of federalism in the country.
Since the group is not concentrated in BARMM as many of its members are outside the autonomous region, it did not touch on the proposed extension of the 2022 first BARMM elections. Individual members who are residing in BARMM may express their opinion on the issue as residents of the region.
Abbas was elected first chairman of the Council. (TRS)