Experts meet in Manila for global forum on federalism

MANILA, Philippines – As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte makes a serious push for a shift from a unitary to federal system of government, Manila plays fitting host to the inaugural global meet on federalism on Wednesday and Thursday, October 19 and 20. 

The Global Autonomy, Governance, and Federalism (GAGF) Forum 2016 will feature over 30 international experts, who will share first-hand experiences and programs from 15 countries. They have an expected audience of 400 local and international stakeholders at the Mayuree Grand Ballroom of the Dusit Thani Manila in Makati City. 

Among the country case studies that will be taken up in presentations and panel discussions are those of the Philippines, Canada, Spain, India, Australia, Northern Ireland and Scotland, Bougainville, Aceh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, South Africa, Finland and Kenya.

Benedicto Bacani, conference chair, says this multi-sectoral gathering is Southeast Asia’s authoritative and most comprehensive as far as discussing autonomy, federalism, and governance “as a means to address societal divides and conflicts and promote sustainable development.” 

“I strongly urge all relevant stakeholders, negotiating panels, policymakers, and government leaders to participate and make your voices heard…. This is a rare opportunity to learn from the experiences of other countries and see what can be adopted here in the Philippines and vice versa,” Bacani said. 

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim will keynote the forum.

Details of the program and the complete list of speakers can be viewed on the GAGF 2016 website.

Those who cannot come can join the discussion by posting questions on, event code 9889, and by using the event hashtag #GAGF2016. The organizer is also on Twitter at @IAGorgph and on

The GAGF Forum 2016 is organized by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, with support from Australian Aid. It is also sponsored by the British Embassy and the ARMM Regional Government.

Rappler is a media partner, along with ANC and MindaNews. –