Koko Pimentel allays fears on shift to federal system
MANILA, Philippines – Incoming Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday, July 4, assured the public that there is “nothing” to worry about the planned shift to federalism.
It was the first time Pimentel attended the Senate's flag-raising ceremony under the new administration. Pimentel, widely believed to be the new Senate President once 17th Congress starts, took the chance to address public concerns on the planned change in the type of government.
“Do not worry too much about the shift to the federal system of government as there will still be a legislature under that system,” Pimentel said in his speech after the flag-raising ceremony.
Pimentel explained that all proposals for a federal-type of government would still need a legislature, an attempt to allay fears of unemployment among Senate employees. (READ: Will federalism address PH woes? Pros and cons of making the shift)
He said that under the federal-presidential government espoused by his father, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr, a bigger Senate would be needed, which in turn would need more employees.
As for federal-parliamentary types espoused by other so-called “Federalistas,” Pimentel said there would still be a legislative branch – the Parliament – which could absorb current Senate employees.
He added: “Each Regional State will also have its own legislative branch which can benefit from the expertise you have developed here in the Senate. You can choose to work therefore in your own region. Hence, I repeat, there is nothing to worry about.”
Plans as Senate President
In the same speech, Pimentel took the chance to explain to Senate employees the plans of his ally President Rodrigo Duterte and the new administration.
Despite Duterte’s fight against drugs through killings, Pimentel claimed that the government would follow the "rule of law" and "make the justice system work.”
On economy, Pimentel said that the administration would focus more on micro than macro-economic indicators, saying "household income and expenditure numbers are more important than Gross Domestic Product figures.”
As for Senate affairs, Pimentel – a senator for nearly 5 years – said he would push to end contractualization when he becomes the chamber leader.
“I have been informed that we have more than 200 casuals. If and when I become Senate President, I will encourage all our casuals to regularize. I have heard of the union’s programs to assist our casuals become regulars. I will support said programs as we have the same goal,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel also vowed to better plan the chamber’s yearly budget, so it would “more accurately reflect” the institution’s needs.
The 1st regular session of the 17th Congress is set to open on Monday, July 25 – the day Duterte delivers his first State of the Nation Address. – Rappler.com