MANILA - The Malacañang committee rewriting the constitution voted unanimously Wednesday on a new preamble that slams the door on any possible secession, a concern raised by critics of a federal shift.
Different regions or states are set to be created in what the committee describes as a "holding together" federalism, unlike the experience in other countries where hitherto separated areas come together.
The proposed preamble includes a commitment of Filipinos to "build a permanent and indissoluble nation and establish a just, humane, united and progressive society under a federal government."
Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the committee chairman, said the proposal calls for a "union that is indissoluble, a federalism that is permanent, a bond that is eternal.”
"Suffice to state that with the wording of our preamble," he said, "our people themselves are rejecting the notion that any of our constituent units have any right to secede from the republic."
Retired Supreme Court Justice Bienvenido Reyes said any attempt at secession "should be dealt with the full force of the law."
The consultative committee is still deliberating on how many federated regions will established.
Proposals include starting with the existing 17 regions, or dividing the country into 5 regions, including one for Mindanao and one for the Visayas.