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Netizens ‘not interested’ in federalism?

Netizens ‘not interested’ in federalism?

The faithful participate in a novena at the Sto. Domingo parish church. OLIVER SAMSON

By Oliver Samson

July 17, 2018

MANILA

Several online social network users have recently observed that netizens, including known pro-Duterte internet users, seem indifferent to the administration’s push for federalism.

In the past several weeks, identified pro-administration netizens with legitimate online social network accounts, were silent about the proposed shift to federalism, said Manases Evasco.

“They used to create noise in support and in defense of anything that the president says, but this time nearly none is posting about federalism or something else about the president,” he said.

Victims of fake news?

Many of those who are backing and defending federalism online are trolls, who have multiple fake Facebook accounts, and a dying number of netizens with legitimate accounts, observed Jeston Mercado.

“Netizens with legitimate Facebook account who support federalism are mostly victims of fake news and black propaganda that have started during the 2016 election campaign,” he said.

Most of them are Facebook free data users and overseas Filipino workers who have no access to The Filipino Channel (TFC), added Mercado.

“They cannot distinguish the legitimate news from the fake, which are propagated online by fake news sources,” he said. “It’s depressing that the impact of fake news and black propaganda led them to question the Church as well as God.”

Ramon Delos Reyes suspects “massive troll recruitment” to push federalism online to give the public an impression that it is widely supported.

“Aside from being costly, there is no need for a shift to federalism,” he said. “What we need is make the Constitution work by electing good leaders, especially God-fearing ones, and help and watch them do their job.”

Delos Reyes observed how several counterfeit Facebook accounts continue to push federalism online.

No more go signal from Malacañang

Known pro-administration friends of his with legitimate accounts, however, have reservations about expressing support of federalism, he said.

Under the proposed charter change, there will be 17 federal regions with the National Capital Region as the federal capital.

According to a post by Rappler on Jan. 21, 2016, the proposed shift to federalism will allow federal regions to design and execute solutions to their local concerns without the go signal from Malacañang; more power over local resources; and decongestion of Metro Manila, among others.

But according to a July 13 GMA News Online post, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile said federalism would mean more bureaucracy and taxes.

“You duplicate the bureaucracy of the national government to the federal level,” he said. It will burden the people too much with taxes.”

A GMA News Online May 22 report showed that 66 percent of Filipinos do not favor a shift to federalism, according to a Pulse Asia survey.