Malaya named new federalism campaign chief

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya is the new federalism campaign chief, the department announced on Sunday, December 17.

"Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya...has been designated the campaign’s new administrator replacing Asst. Secretary Epimaco Densing III," the DILG said in a statement.

Malaya was appointed to the DILG last October after leading the federalism research institute of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the ruling party headed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

As the new federalism campaign chief, Malaya is tasked to rally support for the proposed new system of government. This can only be done, Malaya said in the statement, if the government is united in explaining the shift.

“We have to have one voice and one messaging in the federalism campaign, otherwise, we would not be able to bring our message across to our countrymen on how a shift to federalism would impact on our country and our lives,” Malaya said in the statement.

The DILG's plan in achieving a unified message includes 3 steps.

One voice

The DILG said the  Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has the primary role of ensuring government has a "single voice and single message" during the federalism campaign. COO).

As the "premier arm of the Executive Branch in engaging and involving the citizenry and the mass media," the PCOO has a hold of all public information offices in all government public information offices.

This favors the DILG which wants to harness all national agencies for the campaign.

Tapping the reach and autonomy of local government units, Malaya said the DILG will also initiate talks with local government leagues.

Malaya said the DILG wants a "more inclusive campaign," given that LGUs will be most affected by the planned national restructuring.

Outside the government, DILG said in its statement that they will reach out to to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) to have mainstream media "explain to the public the benefits of federalism." (READ: Duterte to Lopezes: If ABS-CBN promotes federalism, I'll shake hands with you)

“As directed by President Duterte, the DILG needs to let the local governments and the ordinary people appreciate and understand how federalism will be able to change the course of our country and lead it towards development. And with Asec Malaya at the helm of the campaign, I am confident that we can make this happen,” DILG OIC Cuy said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.