By: Mario Casayuran – August 27, 2018 | Manila Bulletin

A major youth group on Monday called on Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon Raul L. Lambino to seize the opportunity to seek a Senate seat in next year’s mid-term elections.

“He can be the voice not only of the youth of the country but of the other sectors who believe in providing equal opportunities for all Filipinos,” said Assistant Secretary Ronald Gian Carlo Cardema, a commissioner of the National Youth Commission.

The group issued the statement after President Duterte told Lambino to take a crack at the 24-member Senate recently.

Lambino, an advocate of federalism like President Duterte, is currently the administrator and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) which operates the special economic zone and freeport based in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

At a recent gathering of more than 6,000 political leaders in Davao City, organized by regional political party HugpongngPagbabago, President Duterte made a personal pitch for Lambinoas a potential senatorial candidate, said Cardema.

“The President asked Secretary Lambino if he is ready for a Senate run,” said Cardema in a statement.

Lambino, a native of Pangasinan in the Ilocos Region, said he is an ardent advocate of federalism believing it to be a force to unleash the nation’s economic potential.

Lambinohjas revealed having gathered unusual interest in the major project, “Crypto Valley of Asia,” a venture he envisions as a hub for financial technology development and cryptocurrency mining in Asia.

With Lambino in the Senate, Cardema said he would give a major voice in the administration’s push to shift the structure of government to federal system, replacing the unitary, Manila-centered system that has been widely blamed for the uneven development of the country’s various regions.

“If we want somebody who could best articulate the proposed changes in the Constitution and the adoption of a federal system, we need Secretary Lambino’s voice in the Senate,” Cardema said.

In the 2016 presidential elections, then candidate Mayor Duterte made federalism a pillar in his platform of government to help end Muslim secession in Mindanao and also to bring about a more equitable development by empowering the regions.

If given a crack at the Senate, Lambino, who is founding chairman of the Confederation of the Federal Movement for the Philippines, would support other administration bills that need urgent passage to complete the reforms and change that the President made as a campaign promise, Cardema said.

He further said Lambino is assured of support by the country’s youth.