“The antidote is federalism, because the essence of federalism is non-concentration of power,” Puno said during the 1st National Forum and Public Consultation.

“The essence of federalism is not just delegation of power but equitable distribution of the powers of government between the federal government and the government of its constituent states,” he added.

The former chief magistrate added that a unitary form of government centralizes national government services to the capital region, which made other regions and provinces poor.

“The inconvenient question is what is wrong with our unitary government? What is wrong cannot escape our senses: it is the over-concentration of powers in the national government,” Puno said.

“Our government is Metro Manila-centered. All things, everything orbits in Metro Manila. The result is inevitable: Metro Manila and the neighboring regions wallow in prosperity. The other regions suffer in poverty,” he added.

Puno added in jest that the farther a region is from Metro Manila, the less attention it gets from the national government.

The federal form of government has been advocated by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself and the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), for progress to reach other provinces especially in Mindanao.