One Million signatures to convince President Arroyo.
This is what is needed, according to some Muslims
leaders, to convince the President to push for parliamentary
The President started the move for a shift to
parliamentary system of government during her State of the Nation
Address (SoNA) in Congress on July 25. Several sectors, including the
Bangsamoro people (Muslim Filipinos), said this could be the best
chance to have a federal set up.
Some Muslim leaders said federalism could be the next
best thins after an elusive "kambayabaya" (independence) and after
the apparent weakness in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
To push federalism even more, a new organization
called Muslim Movement for Federal Philippines (MMFP) wll be launched
tomorrow, Aug. 24, at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, with
Speaker Jose de Venecia as main speaker.
Farouk Sampao, founding chairman of the new group that
seeks to advance federalism, not just for Mindanao but the whole
country, said De Venecia is expected to further discuss the Arroyo
administration's move to turn the Philippines into a unicameral
Sampao, a Maranao leader, said the move to gather at
least one million signatures to back federalism would be started
"We shall submit our collection of a million
signatures to President Arroyo to convince her to support not only a
shift to parliamentary form of government, but also federalism",
MMFP organizers also invited Interior and Local
Government Secretary Angelo Reyes Alunan III, and from from Muslim
leaders, Amina Rasul, lead convenor of the Philippine Council for
Islam and Democracy (PCID), former ambassador Abul Khayr Alonto, a
past vice chairman of the Moro Natinal Liberation Front (MNLF), and
House DEputy Speaker Gerry Salapuddin.
Earlier, Prof. Salipada S. Tamano, a professor at the
Mindanao State University main in Marawi City, said Mrs. Arroyo's
move to shift the system of government from the current US-style
presidential to parliamentay federal setup through Charter change
(Cha-cha) has been snowball-ing among Muslims.
"These Muslim leaders and academicians believe that
a parliamentary federal system of government is in accord with
the essence of the traditional Muslim local governance, like the
Sultanate and the Agama System," said Tamano, chairman of the
Council of Elders and the secretary general of the King Faisal
International Village Association or JAMAA.
"Parliamentary federal, as practiced in other
countries, will enhance and the preservation, development, and
promotion of the cultural heritage of the Muslim Filipinos, thereby
making them assets and partners in the overall task of
nation-building", added Tamano.