Federalism? What are we talking about?

join or die

The discussion has had precedents.


By Josephivo

Change. A new president with a new administration, new people, new ideas, new priorities. Two central concepts, federalism and the parliamentarian system, both container concepts, covering a wide range of solutions for a wide range of problems. So what are we talking about? To be meaningful, the discussions will require specific plans with specific definitions. The devil is in the detail!

I’m not a political scientist, just an ordinary citizen of a (mini-)country that transformed over the last 50 years from a centralized nation into a complex federal state and is transforming now into a confederal state. 50 years of discussions over what institutions we should have, what authority and what means we need to achieve a better system, to improve (but “improve” as such was never defined, no measures of targeted effectiveness and efficiency). Historically, we always had several shifting “fault lines”: language – French/Dutch, religion – Catholic/A-Catholic, political – right/left, economically – more wealthy / more poor, focus on “my village”/focus on Europe. Often these fault lines coincided and created emotional outbursts from the (self-perceived) “minority”, ammunition for smart politicians.

Also, here in the Philippines, strong fault lines exist:

  • Regions: Luzon/Visayas/Mindanao
  • Religion: Catholic/Muslim/Christians/secular
  • Language/culture: Tagalog/Visayan/Ilocano/Bangsamoro…
  • Ethnic: Malay/Chinese/Mestizos/Moro/Indigenous
  • Economic: poor/middle class/class A&B /0.001%
  • Political: left/dynasties/new thinkers
  • Rural/cities: Imperial Manila with its surroundings/rest of the Philippines…

These fault lines are often quite stable. Here alliances are more on an individual than on a group level. But balancing winners and losers will be an extremely difficult, too, the return to trapo-politics just around the corner?

Some thoughts (a mixture of personal recollections and Wikipedia in Dutch, French and English) . . .


A- Federalism

Federalism is a continuum, from highly centralized to loosely associated. Essential is a common constitution for all participating states.

Federalism Wiki

[Source: Wiki commons]

Some characteristics

  • Two levels of judicial powers.
  • The federated states participate as such in the national legislation, often limited to specific fields not belonging to the responsibility of the federated states.
  • All federated states participate in approving constitutional amendments; the national constitution cannot be changed against their will.
  • Federated states have individual budgets.

Different decision fields will be at play

  • Centrifugal forces, more power to the confederate states versus centripetal forces, more power to the national level.
  • Cooperative initiatives with solidarity mechanism versus a strict dual system where inequalities are accepted.
  • Symmetric federalism, all confederate states have equal responsibilities and are organized equally, versus symmetric federalism, different levels of “independence” and/or different systems in the individual organization of the federated states.
  • Some current or future institutions will be winners, gaining powers, some will be losers, losing powers.

Essential differences between existing federal systems

  • All powers are centralized, except as defined by law, versus all powers are decentralized, except as defined by law.
  • Upwards integration, promoting sovereignty to a higher level as ASEAN, downward decentralization, delegating sovereignty to regional or additional local levels.
  • Small independent states uniting versus a large state breaking up.
  • Specific areas are either completely centralized or completely decentralized versus mixed responsibilities where subsidiarity is envisaged, states and nation have complementary powers in the same areas (e.g. agriculture as an exclusive federated state responsibility or national defense is exclusive a national matter versus some agriculture issues are federated, e.g. farmer assistance, some are national, e.g research or some defense is federated, e.g. internal defense, some defense is organized on a national level, e.g. external defense).

Conflict areas

  • Borders between the federated states.
  • “Insular zones” that according to many criteria (cultural/language, economy, religion… ) belong to one region but geographically are surrounded by another region.
  • Budget splits (and sharing of resources or compensations for starting from different development levels)
  • National representation, communication, harmonization….
  • International representation (e.g. if agriculture is 100% devolved, who represents the Philippines in ASEAN agricultural meetings?)
  • Ease to blame the other level. Regions don’t get the envisaged results because the national level is lagging and vice versa.
  • Sense of identity. Different people having their loyalty at different levels.
  • Alignment with the intended ASEAN integration and other international initiatives as IMF, TPP… What part of our sovereignty to delegate upwards? What part to delegate downwards?

Implementation plans

  • All in one big step.

e.g. From one state into 2 independent states overnight: The Czech Republic and Slovakia. Almost equally dramatic: the Bangsamoro proposal.

  • Many small steps.

e.g. In Belgium it started 50 years ago, first only cultural matters were split into 3 communities: Dutch-, French- and German speaking communities (language matters as spelling, cultural awards, radio/TV…) In a second phase personal related fields were transferred to 3 regions (not the same as communities): Flanders, Walloon and Brussels (health care, education, local government, employment measures, housing…) In the next phase economic fields but not financial fields went to the regions (trade and industry, public works, transport…) Now we are preparing for the “Copernicus” revolution (all revolving around the federated states, no more around the national capital), thus the federated states are responsible for everything except for what they agree to keep national (defense, most of the foreign policy…)

Pimentel’s proposal

As far as I read in Pimentel’s proposal (pdf file), little of the above is specified. The proposed Bangsomoro legislation gives a better direction, but some basic concepts defined above will need clarification. What problems will be solved? What new effectiveness or efficiencies will be achieved? How will we measure those?


B- Parliamentary System

Two basic concepts:

  • Anglo-Saxon

The Westminster system is usually found in the Commonwealth of Nations (and ex-nations). These parliaments tend to have a more adversarial style of debate and the plenary session of parliament is more important than committees. Most parliaments in this model are elected using a plurality voting system per district.

  • Continental

The Western European parliamentary model (e.g. Spain, Germany) tends to have a more consensual debating system, and usually has semi-circular debating chambers. Consensus systems have more of a tendency to use proportional representation with (many) open party lists. The committees of these Parliaments tend to be more important than the plenary chamber

Some basic questions

  • Who selects the Head of State, who selects the Prime Minister?
  • Absolute power for the parliament or with remaining prerogatives for the Head of State?
  • Strengthening the parties? Financing, districts/proportional, switching, thresholds…
  • Will weak parties get stronger or make parliamentary democracy weaker?

Presidential versus Parliamentary

  • Legitimation of the president through direct elections.
  • More clear separation of powers. An elected presidential is perceived more independent from the legislature than a president nominated by the legislative branch.
  • Speed and decisiveness. A president can enact changes quickly. (But the separation of powers can also slow the system down.)
  • Stability. A president with a fixed term provides stability more than a prime minister, who can be dismissed at any time.
  • Tendency towards authoritarianism.
  • Political gridlock. The presidency and the legislature as two parallel structures can create long-term political gridlock. Impeachment is a long and cumbersome process.
  • Presidents as commander in chief are seen as solely responsible for the military, and as receiving heads of state and ambassadors, they are seen as solely responsible for foreign affairs.
  • Presidential and parliamentary systems at different levels, national, provincial and municipal. As in Japan with a national level parliamentary system but on prefectural and municipal levels, a “presidential” system with elected officials with exclusive powers independent from elected assemblies and councils.

Two observations

  • Decolonization via Presidential systems failed; most parliamentary transitions were successful. What can be the reason for the correlation?
  • Philippine tendency to mix opposite systems in the hope to unite the benefits but with the effect to create inefficient, nontransparent, unworkable, confusing, formality (lawyer) oriented systems.



We should try to specify what we mean with container concepts such as Federalism and Parliamentarian System. Even more important is to specify in measurable ways what improvements are to be achieved. The world is full of more and less successful examples; we should build on the lessons learned and not try to start from scratch.

A lot has to do with identities; these are getting more and more diverse, more and more globalized, but people also want the security of being able to fall back on a small group or equals. To change the feelings of identity, the main difficulty might be to communicate frequently and clearly on tangible results.


393 Responses to “Federalism? What are we talking about?”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    Bravo, Josephivo. The very first intelligent discussion of the issue hereabouts. I’m on the fence on this one, as I wait for essays like this, and sensible arguments- the ones that can withstand scrutiny and give evidence- and not the ones dumped by cut-and-paste agents who cannot even compose a single coherent argument.

    Specifically, I want local proponents to justify federalism in light of these:

    1. political dynasties, (and related to it, amoral familism)
    2. lack of freedom of information
    3. no political party system that does not tolerate turncoatism

    Be wary of promoters of federalism who sell it as a cure-all for cancer, diabetes, hypertension and all kinds of diseases including underdevelopment, corruption, and injustice! 🙂 They are charlatans!

    • josephivo says:

      To me the current discussions about these issues seems to be full of hidden agendas. I really would like to hear what type of federalism is envisages and what type of parliamentary system, plenty of examples world wide.

      Adobo? Yes, but I have a booklet with 100 different adobo recipes. I had very bad experiences too, adobo to hide gone off meat, adobo with only a salty toyo taste, mini portions, no sauce at all… So if one asks if I like adobo my answers is conditional. But a top adobo is on top of my favorite foods (if in nice quantity, moist, well balanced tastes (as in parliamentarian?) and pork and chicken cooked separately (as in federalism?) so the poor chicken is not dry 🙂

      • andy ibay says:

        If I may, I may have been awakened from the pancitan on Federalism through Parliamentarism while others are still snoring. The what is and what ought to be about this form of government I jumped the gun into: DARN this is how it is done the structure and operationalization all covered in macro-micro aspects setting aside the devil in the details like saying Move your butts experts. It was funny I might already have posted here the anecdote being public adm adviser to a S Pacific country, the province’s MP a PhD Prof in economics said after my presentation: Your recommendations and solutions are good and we will adopt and implement all of them. Only I wonder why our adviser failed to discuss the causes and problems. I ANSWERED, sorry but I think the officials know them. I am afraid it will create a problem if I fail to use the right diplomatic language and hurt people’s feelings. But okay I will say something.

        Past experience MAKES ang yabang ang dating. I believe it is fiction based on a true story if some of this Society’s citizens have also SEEN the film of British actor Albert Finney : A BIG FISH STORY.

        That forgotten piece of mine about the HYBRID HOW (British, American, Canadian, Australian) guide for Ds, a Parliamentary form of government Joeam posted here can be useful for all the Presidential candidates regardless of morale moorings. Our gang in the early fifties were helping decorate the community for a fiesta: Mga Pare ko ganito gawin natin, ganito ang dapat diyan para maging maganda. Sabi noong siga sa grupo: Dyahe ka Pare, dadada ka lang ng dada, kumilos ka Pare, gawin mo.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Irineo had one anecdote like that .he delegated jobs,leaving seemingly nothing left for him to do,but he said he did the organizing,but his fellow fil-germans did not want to hear any of it. and the event almost did not push through.

          • andy ibay says:

            beg to differ karl, the anecdote is a gentle guide for ds (doers, not dummies); for delegation to exist and to work presupposes authority: superior – subordinate relationships; only work and not making love (of country) can be delegated. It is a stretch but in Brexit, it is merely beginning to re-structure back to UK conditionalities RIGHT before EC and proceed from there. The analytical umbrella for both parliamentarism and the EC aggrupation is RELATIONSHIPS of the variables.

      • Thanks for the dissection. definitely a cut above what most people are discussing about federalism.

    • bill in oz says:

      Josephivo, Andrew, I think it is important to separate out ‘Federal state’ & ‘Parliamentary democracy’. They do not necessarily go together..NZ is a unitary state, so are the Republic of Ireland, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Singapore, but all are parliamentary democracies…
      By contrast, India, Canada, the UK, Australia as well as being parliamentary democracies..

      I know they are both on Duterte’s agenda but establishing a Federal state of the Philippines seems to be very high on his agenda. While a ‘Parliamentary system’ is just something to be thought about I suspect.

      • josephivo says:

        In the introduction I tried to justify that Du30 pushes 2 systems and both cover a wide range of solutions. When you compare states you should not only compare the names of their systems, but how the powers are distributed. In some unitary states, provinces might have a lot of independence is certain areas, or regions or whatever the smaller entities are called. Some nations are very uniform in composition, others have dividing fault lines. Some have an unitary centralized government for centuries, others are artificially founded a few decades ago. Some have an Anglo-Saxon tradition, some a continental or Napoleonic.

        The Philippines is a rather new democracy forget the romantic year of the first independence and the years the Americans were the puppeteers. Subtract the years of dictatorship and what ever fig leave the dictator used to cover his indecent ruling. And what rest is a presidential system that failed as in most newly independent states, parliamentary systems resulted in far less dictatorships or political dynasties.

        As described plenty of “fault lines” in the Philippines, even the national lechon and pork adobo are not universal. A system more aligned with realities might function better than the artificial political system of today.

        Not the names matter, but the degree in how citizens can identify themselves with the politicians and the efficiency by which the state delivers services to all. Both are in need of dramatic improvements.

        • “A system more aligned with realities might function better than the artificial political system of today. ” – fully agree.

          On paper, the system is like American democracy.

          In practice, it is the old Spanish system – the Manila elites control things, with the provincial elites as their implementers and persuaders in the provinces, with the datus, er barangay captains as the bosses for the poor – not for those living in subdivisions!

          Used to be the peninsulares or Spaniars from Spain ruled Manila, the insulares or creoles the provinces and the native elite or principalia the municipios and barangays.

          Mestizos and creoles who controlled business and plantations from the 19th century became the Manila elite during American-sponsored democracy. Principalia like Marcos rose to control first the provinces, then the entire country.

          In short, the players changed, but the basic game remained the same as before.

          Personally I think that Federalism – Duterte held Federalism Forums for a year or two I think before the elections – is about giving more power to the provincial ruling families. The country earls against the dukes of the capital, to use an old JoeAm terminology.

          Same story as with Aguinaldo and Marcos. The only game-changer could be Leni. That she will hold public rallies in Cebu and Naga, where grassroots movements are strong, could at some point mean the end of a centuries-old quasi-feudal system of society.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    We learn things we never knew we never knew.I got that from Bill in Oz,nah actually from Pocahontas.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    For political dynasies to be eliminated in a federal system,why not just three regions so the kingdoms will be less. Remove the provinces to remove the governors,remove the barangays but leave the municipalties/cities.
    I know I advocate for the baranggay most of the time,but I am getting sick of dynasties.and mini kings.

    • karlgarcia says:

      The size of the current cities will have to change I think, and gerrymandering of congressional districts should no longer be allowed.

    • josephivo says:

      It all depends what problems you want to solve or what “hero” you want to copy.

      The distance between the citizens and the national politics is to big. Local politics depend very much on individuals, it misses the control of strong parties. Politics is here delegating your democratic power not based on issues presented by a candidate but by his familiarity.

      Germany made some huge democratic mistakes in the past, but currently they seem to have a pretty robust federal and parliamentary system. e.g. their 5% threshold for parties to enter parliament resulting in a few stable parties, the opposite of the Philippines with is numerous party lists.

      • karlgarcia says:

        We are experts on mistakes,this partylist system is turning into an anomaly.
        The 87 constitution really overhauled 1973 constitution.
        I see the problem with starting from scratch there.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I learned that the partylist still attempts to get command votes.
          If everyone does it,what command votes are we talking about. they only fatten the wallets of the mayor and the gov. and sometimes cong.

          imagine one partylist gives 50 k to the mayor just to adveritise,promote and mention them,the mayor will say sure,no problem thank you for your donation.

          • karlgarcia says:

            1pacman partylist has rich individuals for the marginalized,so they say.
            How can I trust a tycoon asking for inherritance while his father is still very alive.

            corporate responsibility.
            Gina Lopez wearing diamonds so long as they are mined in africa(cough) and not the Philippines.

            • bill in oz says:

              Karl, I agree with you about them…So maybe giving th ‘local heros’ job to Leni is the better way

    • How about placing better anti-dynasty provisions in the constitution? But then again, the problem with this country has always been in implementation. -_-

      And also another problem that federalization presents is balkanization? If some states become independent (particularly some areas in Mindanao), what should stop them from breaking away? If federalism does push through, a strong government institution would really be needed.

      • madlanglupa says:

        > How about placing better anti-dynasty provisions in the constitution? But then again, the problem with this country has always been in implementation.

        It is infuriating when proper measures needed to curb the abuses of politicians are blocked by the same politicians themselves.

        • bill in oz says:

          Madlanglupa, I agree with your comment. But i disagree about the proposed solution ‘:anti dynasty legislation’.
          What about something even more radical : Breaking down the ‘us & them’ between the rich & powerful elite and the rest of the Filipino people. Then the oligarchy will be agents of change because they will want a prosperous & powerful Philippines.

          In an environment where the rich oligarchic families are constantly under attack, of course they will defend by holding on desperately to control. This applies even to the Marcos mob.

          Just thinking…

          • I think we could have something like that with federalism. But rather than the aiming for a prosperous & powerful Philippines, they’ll have to focus in improving their own states first because, hey, they probably won’t have a choice. There is no ‘us & them’. There is only the state. And they won’t have the central government to blame/depend on in case they fuck up. It’ll be sink or swim on their own accord. And what greater motivator is there for these kind of people we have in government who are lax and unmotivated?

            • bill in oz says:

              You may be right about that
              But wouldn’t it be nice if good individuals were encouraged to use their wealth &power for good ? A foreign example, From MicroSoft in the USA, has emerged the Bil l& Melinda Gates foundation. I think there is an Ayala philanthropic foundation though I have had no contact with it

              • That would of course indeed be better. However, we do have to start from somewhere and that’s what the measure mentioned above are for. Because to be frank, given the current state of the country, how do you suppose do we get good individuals like that? Not only is the current environment NOT conducive to the development of those kind of individuals, it even seems to be actively repressing it. =(

                Though I think there are of course many different foundations out there like what you’ve mentioned. However, it is just that they seem to be unable to separate themselves from the politics of this country. I can’t put my finger on it but there is probably a difference. Maybe because if these people really wanted change, they’d have already done something about it before given their influence and power? But then again, they are businesses. Many don’t aim to be revolutionaries.

              • But I think the train of thought got lost? haha

                Are we talking about the government officials or the business owners? But looking at our situation now, the government officials are also the business owners and vice versa, thus the confusion? -_-

              • madlanglupa says:

                > the Bil l& Melinda Gates foundation.

                Funny, Maoist Bolivia under Morales rejected their donated chickens because he thought them to be an insult to their progressivist intelligence, the rationale of the foundation that chickens are economically better than computers.

            • bill in oz says:

              Perhaps a program celebrating real local ‘heroes’ ? Individuals who put the interests of the marginalised & poor, ahead of their own ? Or does this already exist ? I don’t know. Maybe this is something that Leni Robredo could do as VP. She has a background in this area.

            • bill in oz says:

              I saw that Madlanglupa.. .. A better question is will chooks survive on the Bolivian ‘Alti plano’ at 10,000 feet.. I think they would freeze especially at night

          • madlanglupa says:

            As much as federalism seems attractive, it’s this culture of political patronage that makes it more prone to abuse by power-hungry warlords aiming to create their own fiefdoms more independent of Manila control.

            In addition, if federalism were to be implemented, there will be of course conflict of interests, of whether a state law agrees with federal law, as in the case of the United States.

            • As said by many, federalism isn’t a panacea. It is being considered for decentralization of powers and development of regions that is not in the imperial north. But to put it into perspective, if we don’t shift to a federal form of government, will the problem of patronage politics be addressed with the current form of government that we have? To quote LCpl_X comment below:

              “As for federalism, just do it chrissakes… only 3 possible things can happen,

              1). it’ll improve the Philippine condition

              2). it’ll make it worst

              3). same-same, no difference”

              And on #2, I think it will probably be only marginally worst as the problem is already existing. This means that it is actually no different from #3. Might as well push through with it?


              But to address the problems with patronage politics, a transition to a parliamentary type of government would probably do something about it. Sure this is an additional reform and it will make things more complex than it already is. But hey, we all have to start somewhere. These reforms are surely for the long haul and for now, it is about time that we prepare a proper foundation for the future of this country.

              But personally though, I think the reforms are logical and reasonable. Check out what was put forward by the CoRRECT™ movement:


              • chempo says:

                Thank you for this link.
                I was actually trying to do some research on country comparatives using metrics like GDP, corruption index to assess the performance of countries based on the forms of govt – presidential, parliamentarian, etc. The 2 country rankings based on economic freedom and corruption metrics is is very telling. Two thumbs up for Parliamentarians Bill of Oz was right, instinctively.

              • Hey Chempo. I’m currently checking it as well. As of now, for objectivity, I’m checking correlation starting from the bottom instead of the top. I just finished with checking CPI V. Government Type. Economic Freedom still to follow…

                (Republics and corruption… Hmm… Interesting…)

              • Sorry Chempo. May correction dun. I’ve updated it and added more columns. And gumawa na rin pala ako ng starting from the top para updated for CPI 2015.

                From Top:

                From Bottom:

              • bill in oz says:

                Chempo I am not sure what you think I am right about.Can you explain ?

              • I also placed a high value on education, not of the rote learning variety, but on citizenship—- ie., learning to lead and follow, and actually doing stuff instead of just philosophizing for philosophizing’s sake. 😉

                I think like the Islamic schools in the Arab and Muslim countries, maybe Philippine schools both public and private are contributors to the problems in the Philippine—- since the US stood up schools over there, even older the Catholic church’s, the schools there have failed to galvanize a nation.

                Why not start breaking-up the schools? Similar to the charter and homeschooling movements over here.

                Maybe focus on the barangay or Ireneo’s canton level, ie. if you have to take a jeepney ride, much less a bus or MRT or be driven by a personal driver, then it’s too damn far…

                The Filipino’s first exposure to the Philippine system, the educational system, and instead of inspiring them, it drains them of imagination & purpose, so an online/canton based approach may just be what the doctor has ordered 😉 , read on: https://joeam.com/2016/05/05/qa-with-k/#comment-182072

              • chempo says:

                @ Bill
                In various comments you have constantly pointed to parlamentary systems as a better model for form of govt. In the ling provided by intuitiveperceiving, the one on the 3point agenda, there are 2 country rankings, one for economic freedom index and another on least corrupt country index. You will see there is a preponderance of countries with parliamentary systems at the top of both charts. Hongkong, Singapore and Australia are right up there.

            • bill in oz says:

              Presidential systems are really elected king systems. And the elected kings claim the jack pot ! A huge amount of power, along with the right to say who will have positions & power in government, plus control over the money spent….And this elected king has all this jack pot for 4-6 years.. And effectively cannot be sacked even if he/she stuffs up big time.

              Parliamentary systems are NOT like this at all.

              In parliamentary systems the people elect representatives to parliament. The party with a majority in parliament form the government. the leader of this party ( or coalition of parties ) becomes prime minister. Note ; there is no jack pot !!!!

              And if the government makes major mistakes, stuff ups, or is corrupt, public opinion will have a major impact on the loyalty of members of parliament to the government & the PM. And then the government party may sack the .PM and elect someone else..Note : there is no guaranteed term in in power.

              These characteristics make parliamentary government far more accountable to the people. They become servants of the people..And less corrupt.. And I think over time more prosperous as well

              • result is Brexit. the tyranny of the Majority.

                Too finicky for my taste.

                Over here in California, nothing truly gets done because of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_ballot_proposition#Criticisms , in this case the tyranny of the Minority… kinda like how the NRA always manages to cock-block any proposed laws deemed to be against the 2nd Amendment .

                Give some guy/gal 4 years (6 yrs is too much), and an opportunity to sit for 8 yrs to get things done, instead of a whole lot of blow-hards arguing and philosophizing.

                Get things done!

              • What the Philippines does that I really like though, is a very short campaign period— I’m exhausted with all this Hillary/Trump stuff and it’s not even November yet!!!

                On the next go round though, why not have all the candidates run for “primaries”, then if no one captures majority (which in reality is 51%) have a run off between the two strongest— ie. DU30 and Roxas won majority, so have Filipinos elect from either one.

                The other thing is,

                to get the best/brightest PNP and AFP personnel, recruit them for the NBI and the best/brightest NBI agents to promote them to Philippine attorneys so they get things done, and really get cracking by ridding groups that undermine the nation.

              • bill in oz says:

                Lance I suspect you have never ever ‘tasted’ parliamentary democracy. You might feel different if you had for a while..
                And actually Brexit was not a consequence of parliamentary democracy..It was Cameron’s idea from the start to have the referendum of citizens voting.. And they voted.

                I notice that the USA has never had a referendum..some states but never the USA. Why I wonder.. Too much democracy?

              • Like I said, bill… too finicky. 😉

                Basically Cameron fell on his sword… LOL! or to be more American … shot his own toes. The only way to mitigate the Tyranny of the Masses is Education.

              • There’s a lesson there 😉 .

  4. Edgar Lores says:

    1. My sense is that the concept of Parliamentarism and the concept of Federalism, taken individually, pose a great challenge. Taken together, they comprise a humongous one.

    1.1. We have had two parliamentary systems in our history: (a) the 1899 National Assembly of Representatives (1898 – 1901) and (b) the 1978 Batasang Pambansa (1978 – 1986).

    1.2. Both were short-lived, the first lasting just 3 years and the second just 9 years. And both were decorative in purpose. They were not true parliaments in the sense that the executive and legislative functions were fused. Both were more rubber stamps to project the illusion of legality, legitimacy and popular support for authoritarian presidents.

    2. I second Joseph’s call for analysis:

    o What exactly are the shortcomings of the presidential system that a parliamentary system will overcome?
    o And what exactly are the shortcomings of a centralized government that a decentralized government will overcome?
    o And are we sure that the cures are not worse than the diseases?

    2.1. The primary reason given for the case of federalism is the inequity of development and progress between Imperial Manila and the rest of the country. But as @Steve has noted, the financial arrangements are paramount. I note that Pimentel’s proposal contains the creation of a Federal Equalization Council. Given the propensity of Filipino politicians for dynasties, warlordism and corruption, is federalism suited to the Filipino character?

    2.2. I have not heard any primary reason for the push towards parliamentarism. Given the propensity of Filipino politicians for expedient behavior, lack of loyalty, and the ready sacrifice of principles (if any), is parliamentarism suited to the Filipino character?

    3. Filipinos also have a propensity for grand ideas that fail in the implementation, execution and maintenance.

    3.1. Parliamentarism. Federalism. Liquidation of drug lords. Elimination of corruption. A nationwide rail system. All grand ideas. These are worthy goals.. Are the means worthy and available?

    3.2. We have had 4 constitutions – 1899, 1935, 1973 and 1987 — in the space of a hundred years. We are now talking of adding a fifth constitution in an additional score of years. So many false starts – arguably not because of what was written but because those who swore to uphold what was written were unfaithful to their vows. Will we get it right this time?

    3.3. We are also talking of a grand transformation of a country in a single presidential term. We are in need of the intellect and vision of Filipino Founding Fathers. Do any walk in our midst?

    • josephivo says:

      Feasibility and timing are the follow-up questions. The first is what problems do we want to solve with the proposal? Second what is the proposal exactly?

      By the way, with your 4 constitutions you are in good company, France is at its 5e republic, meaning 5e constitution. Belgium keeps rewriting it almost yearly, now we have already 6 different governments, 5 parliaments, 3 communities, and 3 regions and all this with a European umbrella. The communities have provinces split in “arrondisments” (counties) split in municipalities all with elected legislative councils who are also electing the governors, county heads and mayors.

      • “3.3. We are also talking of a grand transformation of a country in a single presidential term. We are in need of the intellect and vision of Filipino Founding Fathers. Do any walk in our midst?”

        We always return to this problem, and the answer is sadly always no, and the solution is always no mystery… Education.


        As for federalism, just do it chrissakes… only 3 possible things can happen,

        1). it’ll improve the Philippine condition

        2). it’ll make it worst

        3). same-same, no difference

        Like I said, if Korina’s dogs think they are humans, where I’m sure within a mile radius from where she lives (maybe more, proximity depends on wealth 😉 ) there are actual kids who think they are dogs, number 2). is more a break even situation.

        So just do it. What’s there to lose really?

    • josephivo says:

      Forgot to tell that we also have a king, a prime minister and 4 presidents. Also the arrondisments are split in kantons and larger municipalities are split into districts.

      We have almost more elected people than citizens. So if the Philippines want to catch up, there is still a long way to go.

      • bill in oz says:

        Joephivo, I had no idea. And I guess those not employed in the Belgian bureaucracy are working for the EU

    • bill in oz says:

      Edgar, how do you rate the chances for just a move to a Federal Philippines over the next 6 years ?

      I think parliamentary systems are better, but like you think it to big a change to try for in 6 years with all the other major issues to deal with.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        I believe the chances for a move to Federalism is high because it is virtually being dictated from above… and there is cooperation from the Legislature. One can almost sense the salivatory anticipation from the powers that be in the current fiefdoms.

        I believe the chances for the success of Federalism is low to middling… unless the diagnosis of ills and the prescription of cures are thorough and accurate.

  5. bill in oz says:

    Off Topic just for information only, not a comment. The Philippines has local friends in the dispute with China.

    ‘Indonesian President Joko Widodo has visited remote Indonesian islands on a warship in an apparent show of force following clashes with Chinese vessels and growing fears Beijing is seeking to stake a claim in nearby waters.

    Mr Widodo led a high-level delegation, including the Foreign Minister and armed forces chief, to the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea, arriving at a navy base before being escorted to the warship as fighter jets buzzed overhead and military vessels performed manoeuvres off the coast.

    At a meeting of ministers and security force chiefs on the warship, which last week detained a Chinese trawler and its crew in Indonesian waters, the President ordered defences around the Natunas to be stepped up.

    “I asked the military and the maritime security agency to better guard the seas,” he said.
    Indonesian President Joko Widodo stands behind a large weapon on a warship.

    A picture released by the Government showed Mr Widodo standing next to a gun turret on deck, flanked by the military chief and ministers.

    Before the trip, Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said it was aimed at sending a “clear message” that Indonesia was “very serious in its effort to protect its sovereignty”.

    Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost the entire strategically important South China Sea, and regional tensions are mounting due to Chinese island building and ahead of a UN-backed tribunal’s ruling on a Philippine challenge to China’s claims.”

    • karlgarcia says:

      can’t wait for July to know the official policy on AFP modernization.I dont want to lose my .000000000000000001 percent commission. joke only.

      • Bert says:

        Forget your commission, karl, there will be no modernization. President Duterte will not do a Widodo, riding battleship to confront Chinese ivaders. Our president is far, far braver than any Indonesian.

        He’ll just ride a jetski, remember?

        • bill in oz says:

          Just quietly Bert I think Widojdo was showing Duterte how to do it better vis a vis china

          • Bert says:

            Ow, come now, Bill, haven’t you heard our President Duterte saying our purchase of two Korean fighter jets a total waste of money? How much more waste if we buy warships. Our President was just being practical. Why buy warships when he can do the job by riding jetski rather than warship, right? President Widodo of Indonesia instead should learn a thing from our president on how to do it better, don’t you think?

            • bill in oz says:

              I like your irony Bert :- )
              But bewen you me & the brick wall, I suspect that Widodo is hoping President elect Duterte thinks about these issues again.. The Javanese of Indonesia are very subtle people

              • Bert says:

                Oh, sure, Bill, Widodo can hope all he wants, after all hoping is free. I know that hope springs eternal or so they say, but in this case Widodo is as clueless as a dead dodo. First of all he never raise a clench fist in front of the public. Second of all he does not have DDS or NPA as friends, third of all he didn’t have a Joma Sison for a professor, and fourth of all he probably don’t know how to ride a jetski. So there.

              • bill in oz says:

                Yep Bert, it’s all true what you say ….But there are 340 million Indonesians And Indonesia has been having a boom time economically the past 20 years.. So please it’s good to be courteous to a neighbour.. 🙂

                PS I just read that the Indonesian government has banned all Indonesian shipping from using the Sulu seaway when sailing to the Philippines ..

                Why ? They are sick of paying ransom money to Abus So A lot of coal for Electricity generation will be more expensive…. Until Abus is taken out by Philippines troop etc.

              • karlgarcia says:


              • karlgarcia says:

                I liked Joe’s idea,a bee fleet.


                “Why not seed a major industry, boat building, by manufacturing a lot of smaller, simpler craft?
                Why not provide jobs in the Philippines instead of America?
                Why not have a large fleet of small, mobile, missile-toting ships?
                The bee fleet.”
                Or just a fleet of jetskis instead.

            • chempo says:

              Sorry Bert, I agree with Duterte that buying 2 Korean fighter jet planes is a waste of money, but for entirely different reasons. It’s a matter of optimisation. The cost of a jetplane is one thing, but it comes with a whole host of unseen cost — training of crew and engineers, facilities, tooling, maintenance inventories etc. You need a certain optimum number of planes to spread out this unseen fixed cost. You probable need to acquire a whole squadron.

              • Bert says:

                Hehe, chempo, you’re too serious. Me and Bill we are just having fun, :).

                Anyway, just to have a bit of seriousness in this topic I think that two Korean fighter jets or even just one is not totally a waste of money if it comes to certain unforeseen event in the Scarborough that might occur if China decides to harm Filipino fishermen who might bravely venture into that part after a favorable decision by the UN arbitration Court.

                That is assuming that we have a president who is willing to defend his people from harm being done by a foreign power within our sovereign territory.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Two is a waste of money,but 12 is not.

              • karlgarcia says:

                If it is a two-seater,Duterte can use it to go back and forth to Davao.
                Yes plane trips everyday can save a lot of money.Bounty for drug lords to match bounty on his head can save money.Duterte has figured how to save all the money for a rainy day.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Mocha Usonis acting like the AFP or DND spokesperson of Duterte.
                True ,choppers are needed.But like food supplements,the planes are supplements not replacements.We can have the best of both worlds.

                The supersonic era is not a bygone era like some say.
                What is wrong to have a modernized fleet we have an aging fleet.

                That education vs defense spending has been going on since the time of Quezon.

                Are we addressing the wrong problem, no we are addressing one problem, among many problems.

                Multi-prong approach might be best.
                True,one solution is not enough.

                Systems theorists and practitioner’s here like Irineo and Edgar and Joseph might call it system’s thinking.

              • I believe the order was for 16 but 2 has already been delivered and it seems the next president would not be including the other planes in his next budgets.

              • karlgarcia says:

                maybe somewhere along the way they reduced it to 12.
                But,what a bummer if this is scrapped. Would the Frigates be next?


              • Edgar Lores says:

                Shouldn’t defense strategy and armament plans span administrations?

              • karlgarcia says:

                it should.

              • Bert says:

                My take is that Pres. Duterte who said he won’t go to war with China over Scarburough is willing to give China a free hand over the Scarburough Shoal, that is if he has his way.

                I don’t think he will have his way on this.

              • Bert says:

                Pres. Duterte was just being consistent. He always raised a clench fist, he has NPA friends, he has Joma Sison for a professor, he installed leftists in his government, he wants bilateral relations with Communist China, he does not want to go to war with China over Scarburough Shoal. Can anyone see what those means? It would not take a rocket scientist to see why he does not want to have supersonic jet fighters in his arsenal.

                Right, guys?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Ok Bert,you maybe right,we will see
                I was hopeful when he hired a former washington attache as dnd chief,that the US relationship will remain strong.

  6. DAgimas says:

    as of today, our LGUs are the luckiest in the world. they get 40% of internal revenue with only Health, Natural REsources, Social Welfare devolved to them. the most important and most expensive services, Education and Public Safety remains at the hands of the national govt. they get their share even if the BIR has no collection from their jurisdiction.

    can you imagine the US govt giving this funds to the states and local govts? no. if your city can not afford to police your streets, that’s your problem. if your city can not afford to pay the teachers salaries, that’s not their problem. they may give grants from time to time but its not their responsibility.

    and lets look to the services and powers local govt have in the states (CA in particular). they build their own airports, ports, train stations, freeways, water system etc. they pay for prosecution, police, fire, jails, parks, education, low cost housing, etc. all these without getting support from the state and federal govt.

    what about our LGUs? they could not even build public baths/restroom in the beaches

    im all for autonomy or states but with all that revenue sharing LGUs get, what can they show? basketball courts? not even impounding dam to be used during droughts?

    its not the type of govt. its the people who run it.

    • karlgarcia says:

      revenue sharing has to go.
      But with the bbl having that setup,I dont think they will even consider it.

        • karlgarcia says:

          No minerals.No problem.It is is just there in your trash.will Gina Lopez stop landfill mining?

          Apple products alone in one year.

          The gold haul alone is worth $40 million at current prices ($1,229.80 per troy ounce of gold), while the total amount of material recovered is reportedly worth well over $50 million.

          Cult of Mac ran the figures quoted by Apple through today’s metal prices, and came up with individual figures for copper ($6.4 million), aluminum ($3.2 million), silver ($1.6 million), nickel ($160,426), zinc ($109,503), and lead ($33,999).

        • DAgimas says:

          do you see Palawan? aside from IRA, they get a lot from the gas fields too and yet they are very dependent too. just to show that all these revenue sharing thinking that their local jurisdiction have lots of minerals to get revenue from is just not enough.

          Scotland whose jurisdiction is the oil fields were discovered is poorer than London who caters only to the financial world.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > if your city can not afford to police your streets, that’s your problem.

      Oh, yes, I remember that in the US, police are mainly supported by funding from county, city and state governments. If cops don’t get their payrolls, or maintenance funds, it’ll be like NYPD in 1977 when New York went bankrupt and it took the late Ed Koch after winning the mayoralty elections to jumpstart it back to life.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        When I lived in rural Virginia in the 1980’s, some locals & I did a count one night.. about how many police’ forces there were.. We stopped at 17 ! Bizarre.
        In Oz there is a state police force organised for each state/territory..And a Federal police service which only has authority to deal with crimes under Federal law. A good deal simpler and funded better as well.None have ever fallen apart because of unfunded.

  7. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    With 48% of votes based on voters turnout of about 33 million, the Leaves got 8.24m and Remains got 7.76m.

    My projection — the Leaves will win.

    • karlgarcia says:

      remains sound like dead bodies and leaves sound like dahon.

    • I hope N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales follows suit. 😉 Scoxit? Walexit? Norther Irexit? LOL! Our USofAxit, was awhile back.

      • karlgarcia says:


        It was just two years ago,maybe remains won but now remains to be seen.

      • josephivo says:

        Scoxit? Walexit? Norther Irexit from the federal state UK? Scoxit is very likely and they want to return to the EU.

        Good for the rest of Europe that the Brits are gone I guess, they where so noisy and blocking so many things. Now they will be independent again so they can dream of ruling the waves alone, I wish then good luck.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Dreaming is good.They almost blundered in the Falklands.Rule the Waves,they still sing it at boxing matches.

      • NHerrera says:

        USAexit from the British. 🙂

      • The E.U. should’ve had a mirrored campaign, EUxit … screw the Brits! LOL!

        But seriously,

        this is just the first domino, essentially there are 2 Europes, based on the Hajnal line:


        • not really sure about Hungary… Ireneo, is that Hungarian blue related to the Turkish/Ottaman invasion attempts past the Danube? or more a terrain thing? ie, less mountainous compared to surrounding countries,

          • karlgarcia says:

            Irineo is in a trip,the last time I asked him.

            • Back from Hamburg since yesterday… but today I enjoyed the first 30 degree day here.

              Summer solstice time, I have my windows open as the light outside slowly fades before 10.

              Europe is definitely a very VARIED place… the color chart matches my own experience.

              Both travelling to places and dealing with the attitudes of folks from different places.

              England was always an anomaly… their issues are twofold I think:

              1) insularity – people on an island (or islands) lack daily mass exposure to other folks.

              Filipinos are also insular – they are only flexible on the outside because they always had to be, since the others came to them. In reality, we all know how hard-headed we are.

              2) Thatcherism – most manufacturing was done away with, the UK lives HEAVILY from financial services. The old social system of the 1950s was pretty much dismantled. Add to that Mexican-style migrants in low-paying jobs (Romanians etc.) competing with the poor. For European standards, the rich/poor gap in the UK and the social insecurity is almost like in America. Healthcare is mediocre if you have little money, education is difficult. The class system pretty strong. Meaning Trump-like agitators had a big chance and used it.


              Back to the cultural thing… the “red area” of Southeastern Europe has a very rural culture.

              These people adjust easily to others ONLY because they have to – it is simply poverty.

              In the villages and in families, there are the patriarches and matriarches who dominate.

              The sense of belonging there is familistic, clannish, tribal… the nationalism archaic…

              Albania is an extreme case… know some of these people from younger new migrant days.

              The soccer fans of Albania were the loudest, boldest of all in the present Euro 2016…

            • karlgarcia says:

              How were the hamburgers there?

              • As usual… but I saw this frigate under construction again – its specs on Wikipedia read like a Star Wars ship on water… it is not large but has destroyer capabilities… might be too expensive for the Philippines though, it is the first of four in a new class being built…

                but Joe’s idea of missile boats (similar to McArthurs old idea of PT boats with torpedos) might be enough to make Chinese ships look like this one that once ran aground in Hamburg as well – containers look like Lego pieces on this giant…

                The container ships I saw in Hamburg (fine hot weather in Germany, finally) were smaller than that Chinese giant, but pretty impressive already.

              • I also saw this ship, the ARM Cuauhtemoc, leaving the harbor similar to this…

                sail training vessel of the Mexican navy, named after this last Aztec ruler:

                Sometimes I wonder if Duterte has Aztec or Mayan blood – they practiced human sacrifice.

              • karlgarcia says:

                That is why I will only believe that Duterte will scrap AFP modernization ,if he says it again when he is already president.

                I was rebuked by an unknown military officer in the timawa forum,that a bee fleet would not stop China,and typhoons could sink such a fleet.
                He lectured me some more.
                I just listened and left the forum,he might be a general or an admiral,i would not know.

              • Joe America says:

                Did the general propose jet skis or aircraft carriers and submarines? Like, there is an element of “what can we afford” that gets factored into things.

              • Joe America says:

                Seems to me the worst military official in the world is one without any creativity. How in the hell will they win any battles if they can’t think outside the box and ahead of everyone else?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes plenty of those who think money grows on trees and plenty of those who lack creativity unfortunately,but there are many brillant people too.

                Still waiting for the official policies for AFP modernization and the WPS.

              • Bert says:

                “I was rebuked by an unknown military officer in the timawa forum,that a bee fleet would not stop China,and typhoons could sink such a fleet.
                He lectured me some more.”—karl


                That military officer, most probably an admiral, was speaking through his wallet. There’s not much money to have from a bee fleet compared to what he could get from buying battleships.

                Of course he was wrong on both counts. Small speedy missile boats that would comprise a bee fleet can inflict great damage to any Chinese ship guarding or doing reclamation works on our Scarburough Shoal. Given our proximity to the place and China’s distance I think gives the Philippine Armed Forces great advantage in this kind of conflict. And typhoons have nothing to do with a war in the Scarburough.

                We are just talking about stopping China from building any structures in the Scarburough Shoal and not to win a war against Communist China, aren’t we?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Defense does not mean War. it is not even the acronym Willing able and ready… remove the willing part and yes that is what defense is.

          • Hungary is very different in language from the rest… the language and the original Hungarians (they mixed with the conquered peoples) come from around the Ural…

            Interestingly, excellent mathematicians come from over there… one could also include whiz kids Andy Grove of Intel and George Soros, both Hungarian Jews and Auschwitz survivors.

            The deep blue stretches into the Hungarian minority part of Romania BTW.

            What I also find interesting are the blue shades in Germany – Bavaria where I live definitely has a more rural, conservative culture than highly modern Hamburg.

            That the blue shade is the same from Denmark, the German seaboard until Holland and Flemish Belgium is NOT surprising at all to me – all places shaped by maritime trading.

      • LCPL_X, this might interest you – a FB posting by Suzanne Adely, Yonkers, NY:

        OMG! Can you all just listen to my Brilliant 15 year old Niece, Amal Haddad who writes:

        “in the wake of the ‪#‎brexit‬ vote, i’ve seen a lot of rhetoric from moderate liberals pinning this on the working class

        the same thing is happening in america with trump. it’s very easy to blame poor people for the rise of fascism, but ask yourself– who disenfranchised the poor? which so called liberal parties, who claimed to support the poor, abandoned them and allowed populist conservative movements to pretend to care about the interests of the working class in order to seize power?

        poor whites may have voted for trump, but it was the one percent and the american government who created a climate of fear, inequality, and disenfranchisement in which right wing populism thrives.
        a lot of working class people may have voted to leave the eu, but it was rich conservative bastards in parliament who spread lies and misinformation for their personal and party gain.

        american democrats and uk leftists alike cannot continue to throw the working class under the bus to avoid responsibility for patterns created by a heavily inequal society that they helped create.”

    • Britain has voted to leave the European Union, with the Leave campaign securing around 51.8 per cent of the vote.

      David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister.

      In a speech outside 10 Downing Street he said:

      “The British people have voted to leave the EU and their will must be respected.

      The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.

      There can be no doubt about the result.

      Across the world people have been watching the choice that Britain has made.

      This will require strong, determined and committed leadership.

      I am very proud to have been Prime Minister of this country for six years.

      I have held nothing back.

      The british people have made a very clear decision to

      I think the country requires fresh leadership.

      I do not think I can be the captain to take the country to its next destination.

      In my view I think we should have a new prime minister in place by the start of the Conservative conference in October.”

      David Cameron previously warned that the world would be a less safe place if Britain left the EU.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Hello,Mary Grace. 😄

      • andy ibay says:

        Hah, hah, hah. Please pardon the quirkiness in laughter. English language LONGEST word :
        ANTI-ESTABLISHMENTARIANISM is the snake medicine being dangled for acceptance to villagers of the small and big villages of the failed GLOBAL VILLAGE eg. the Philippines, Britain and the USA. Villages like the Philippines and the UK just accepted, bought and paid for the pill and USA is about to buy it from snake medicine salesman Donald Trump come November. Go spin the quotes below:

        “It was Britain’s poorer and less-educated citizens — angry at not having shared in the economic benefits of a new world order — who pushed it out of the European Union, in a vote that threatens elites, analysts say.”

        “The demographic splits within the UK are exactly the same category for category as the demographic splits within the American electorate in this presidential election.”
        “I see the same pattern everywhere I look,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the US-based Brookings Institution.
        “They mistrust political elites because up until now they haven’t seen any political parties who appear to recognise their discontent and respond to it.”

        – ‘It’s about what people feel’-
        “Fears are high of a domino effect, with eurosceptic, leftist and far right parties from France to the Netherlands crying victory after the shock Brexit result was announced and calling for similar votes in their own countries.
        Political scientist Melanie Sully of the Vienna-based Go-Governance Institute warned Europe was facing a “crisis of democracy” that could be exploited by xenophobic, far right parties.

        “If you don’t have any trust in politics, it’s exactly the sort of black hole populists can march into and capture the mood and build on it, to perpetuate their own falsehoods,” she told AFP.
        At the root of this surge in anti-establishment sentiment is a feeling of fear, loss of control, and traditions and identity lost among those who are struggling economically, analysts say.
        “Before we talk about populism, the anti-establishment, we have to talk about the social position of these people. What do they earn? How do they see their everyday lives?” said Tetiana Havlin, a sociologist at the University of Siegen in Germany.
        “In everyday life nobody thinks about anti-globalisation, anti-establishment. They just see their challenges”, she said.

        “This of course gives fertile ground for populism… but in the end this is about what people feel.”

        • andy ibay says:

          as I have said elsewhere, FEAR NOT THE ANTI-CHRIST IN THE REVERSE, it is not a person who can be present in any or many villages in the world. FEAR IT as an idea espouse not by leaders but by ideas put into action by the masses.

          • bill in oz says:

            Andy, sorry I do not understand your last comment….Can anyone help here ?

            • andy ibay says:

              Bill from down under I will try to explain:

              In the physical as well as the abstract universe, there is always two existing forces which could be in constant friction or in opposition as they go into motion. Society’s two general forces are the elite or establishment on one side and the common masses on the other; sometimes taken as the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. They exist in a kind of temporary symbiosis until all hell breaks loose in a kind of revolution. Lalo yatang lumabo eh.

              The anti-Christ can be driven in forward or REVERSE gear. Drive it forward using non Christian and Koranic methods to achieve pro-Christ’s values of enriching human rights, restoring conditions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness EVENTUALLY is an anti-Christ idea which is more dangerous than a pro-Christ reformer leader because it is more EFFECTIVE when it happens. Look at France now, the reverse is said : If they don’t have bread give them cake.

              The pro-Christ idea of tolerance and forgiveness lavishly extended to a corrupt politician, or to traitors could backfire and entice the people to hate more and do away with them. The means are anti-Christ to achieve pro-Christ results: Thou shalt not steal. The rich and the poor co-exist in homeostasis always seeking DYNAMIC BALANCE in pro-Christ TEACHINGS. But when the FILTHY RICH and powerful soullessly dominates the dirt poor and the powerless, the idea of anti-Christ methods might be adapted to achieve pro-Christ results. In theology about the existence of heaven and hell, devil ways might be resorted to, to increase the population of heaven.

              I think in the present epoch something bad has been going on for quite sometime now in the Philippines, the USA, and Britain and may be in other countries as well between the establishment and the powerless; rulers and ruled; the rich and the poor, the outsiders and the insiders and whatever. The reverse shift though unheard of, could be the strongest gear to move the society up to the hilltop. Okay just think of Duterte, Trump and Cameron ways and means. Still clear as mud, but I tried elucidating.

              • As weird as what you’re saying may sound, I think I get what you mean and it seems to make sense. We’re basically approaching some sort of tipping point thus a counter-force of some sort must be applied to avoid the collapse of the system. As you’ve said, it is about balance? Somewhat like Yin and Yang and other mystical zen stuff and whatnot?

                Wow. That’s actually another way of looking at things…

              • bill in oz says:

                I don’t see this process in religious terms at all. If anything the old marxian idea of thesis and anti-thesis and then synthesis, makes more sense to me

              • Juana Pilipinas says:

                Ah, Andy. You are more of a metaphysicist than an empiricist, I gather. I get your theory but the bottom line is: How do we prevent the prophesied outcomes from happening? How can we turn our insignificance to actions that will make a difference? How can we define the problem so beneficial and measurable action can be taken to alleviate or annihilate it? So many questions…

              • andy ibay says:

                thanks intuitiveperceiving, I think you got my drift; intuition is a gift not to need basic reason while perception needs something basic to the senses to hypothesize an opinion which I think in the views at bar you have used. thanks.

              • andy ibay says:

                thanks bill down under, at first I thought about that now dead Marxian notion of thesis, anti-thesis, then synthesis but thought it’s application in practice was proven impotent and dead meat. It was flawed from the beginning cooking the idea mainly in the British Museum (library?) for the proletariat in factories when the bigness of the problem was in rural areas involving feudalism and poor farmers and fishermen; it misread the success of the French Revolution; Gorbachev got his epiphany early enough, China subtly followed afterwards, Cuba on its way perhaps?; Religion or non of it is the jack hammer that must be the end point of arguments. I did not use religion to dissect the issue. I used science: physics to cite two forces at rest and in motion; sociology in systems theory of social equilibrium of homeostasis; psychology to speculate the application of reverse psychology like a father who lavishly and irrationally love daughter Gloria could backfire into hatred by her siblings, then to cap it with theology (the art or science of deities?) which embraces and should culminate the spatial and temporal dimensions of any discourse. With info available the idea is to begin inductively and end deductively. Einstein did the opposite because he has nothing, no evidence to hang on to, he began deducing phenomena, then proceeded to search for supporting details, others by accidents discovered supporting inductive evidence on Einstein’s postulates which overtime became induction proving Einstein’s deductions. Sorry Bill for this short soliloquy.

              • andy ibay says:

                Thanks for the praise and questions Joan (de Arc?) of the Philippines. It will be like doing a teach in among farmers in Central Luzon if I answer all your questions. If it is bound to happen, you can not prevent what is prophesied. If you believe that history is infinity composed of continuing chunks of events and individuals turned into jigsaw puzzle pieces of the same shape which an unseen power can juggle in pre-set and pre-design time. Example: the French Revolution is a jigsaw piece or chunk of events and people that can be lifted and transfer to another place. It will happen differently in its new place because of the gift of free will to the actors, but the end is the same to produce in the new place like France today. Preposterous, insane? who cares so long as you can search for evidence to confirm or refute a deduction. thanks Juana.

  8. manuelbuencamino says:


    As we consider new forms of government, this 50 year old op-ed by my uncle is worth a second look. http://www.quezon.ph/familyinfo/our-undemocratic-mentality-january-11-1967/

    • You have an uncle who’s a former President?!!!

    • bill in oz says:

      Well there it is then Manuel ! And said in 1967.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, MB. It fits well.

    • andy ibay says:

      This is a sales pitch. Additional readings for this good piece are: the Pattern Variables of Talcott Parsons, and Bureaucracy by Max Weber (pronounced Beaver) both Germans social scientists, to get a view of theoretical foundations of public administration. My sales pitch: Both were foundational considerations in my piece on the HOW of a Parliamentary Philippine Government already forgotten by this Society of Honor.

    • Doc' & CJ says:

      @ manuelbuencamino

      Much wisdom spoken in that article, and I fear it contains a rather prophetic warning as well.

      “It is only the development of a genuinely democratic mentality which will protect us from the horrible temptation of a society which allows for no differences at all, no personal initiative free from state control, and no individual distinctions based on natural and acquired gifts”

      The lack of a well developed democratic mentality and adherence to the principles that support it, has in large part produced conditions in PH that might soon usher in a desperate swing towards socialism. Perhaps the election of Duterte is the strongest indicator of this potentiality.

      Strange and dangerous times we live in.

      Thanks for sharing the wisdom of your Uncle MB.

      • For a genuine democratic mentality, you need a middle class majority in the country.

        Germany developed a genuine democratic mentality after World War II – when provincial conservatives (mainly Christian Democrats) and the urban working class which became reasonably middle class in income (mainly Social Democrats) basically made things work.

        What happened before that was the working class marginalized and running to the Nazis and Communists, a large part of Protestant conservatives going for the Nazis while the old Centrist (only Catholic) party and the Social Democrats were marginalized (Centrists) or persecuted (SocDems). If one goes by the Maslow hierarchy, postwar made sure that the lower but basic needs of that hierarchy were met for most. Hunger knows little morals.

        • Joe America says:

          Judging from the US, with its huge middle class and apparent dumbing down effect (Trump) similar to Brexit/Duterte, and emotionalizing on simplistic lines, that concept seems less true today. Too much television, movies, sports and social media chit chat. Not enough reading.

      • LG says:

        You are right Doc’n CJ. That 1967 article by Manuel Quezon, Jr. is timeless. Insightful, analytical, full of wisdom and so very relevant. Easy read as well. The author makes his name sake, the First, proud.

  9. bill in oz says:

    I am Aussie but born in Britain.. So interested in the result…But did not vote.

    I think the forgotten people of England & Wales have said ‘leave’ to Europe..Immigration was the issue that decided it for them. Gloriously multicultural/ multinational London wants to remain..
    But the traditional British areas are sick of being overwhelmed by foreign immigrants let in via the EU open borders policy…. Greece & Italy effectively have no border control and in fact are magnets for people from all over the world wanting to enter the EU. ( Filipinos wanting to leave with enough to get to Athens or Rome.. take note :- ))

    Northern Ireland & Scotland have benefited from huge EU funding packages to reduce longterm unemployment over the past 40years so much more support there. But total population of these 2 regions in 9 million out of total 65 million for Britain as a whole

    Wow an independent Britain again ! Where is the champers ?

  10. karlgarcia says:

    Wow,Joseph! Belgium planned to purchase The Philippines from Spain?

    What if they have succeeded?


    I have been wondering what made my maternal great grand father come to the Philippines,maybe he heard of Leoplold’s dreams.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    We worry about China,I am more worried of North Korea.


    it can reach as far as the Oz.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    ok luzonxit,visayas xit and mindanao xit coming up.

    • josephivo says:

      Referenda, let the people decide.

      The problem is the framing of the question on one hand and the knowledge of the average voter about the consequences on the other hand. Via representatives, but are they free of hidden agendas and knowledgeable? Especially if we keep electing celebrities.

      • karlgarcia says:

        like one said,social media did not create gullibility, it just showed how gullible we are.

      • karlgarcia says:

        that party list ako Bicol won because Eddie Garcia endorsed it, aside from having Bicolanos all over the country.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    Cameron resigned.

  14. karlgarcia says:

    Let us invite UK to ASEAN.

  15. rzb says:

    Maybe its not fair for us to scorn or ridicule this agenda but as Filipinos, or think we are one with them, we can put forward models of federal forms of gov’t. and systems of governance we think BEST SUITS the Filipino psyche while KEEPING IN MIND WHY the present form of government does not work. Better still, pack our bags and be counted in the coming Constitutional Convention and throw our ideas on the floor.Here are some ideas but I dont think it will pass first base. https://www.facebook.com/Agrogene/posts/802043506539384

  16. andrewlim8 says:


    Brexit. Trump. Duterte.

    Poverty reduction by eliminating the poor physically based on mere say-so.

    Chang is coming (China).

    Mindless, barbaric populism is winning, thanks to social media.

    Bad hair (Trump) , bad fashion (Duterte). Filipinos cannot rock checkered polos; plaid only looks good for Tim Duncan! 🙂

    The Big One may come during the Duterte years as a chastisement for violating Thou Shalt not Kill.

    No to mining but yes to Bongbong whose parents “mined” the Philippine economy!

    Time to bug out, and be a doomsday prepper!

    The only positive thing: Leni Robredo, who does not ask you to leave your humanity at the door so that progress may happen.

  17. chempo says:

    Nice work Josephino, on a very critical issue facing Filipinos in the coming days.

    BREXIT came and gone. There are lessons to be learnt. I hope Filipinos can see them.

    Very often we see whole nations turning insular, nationalistic, xenophobic and listen to populist demagogues. Most ordinary people on the streets cannot see complex issues clearly, and they are easily swayed by good salesmen of not too good products. Inevitably, they take the route that will do the nation more harm.

    • “whole nations turning insular” England and the Philippines are by definition insular.

      I think living on an island or islands makes a big difference. Continental people are used to different kinds of people coming and going – and also are used to defending their turf.

      The English had first-hand experience of vulnerability. From the Roman times until 1066, nothing but invasions. Then dynastic war against France, then their own Wars of the Roses, Lancaster vs. York dynasties, then the start of a powerful nation with the Tudors.

      Except that they have now basically lost their Empire, the British Commonwealth is mere symbolism. But the EU remained a stranger to most Englishmen.

      In mindset, London may be closer to New York than to Paris or Berlin.

    • bill in oz says:

      Chempo, just been watching the TV…I found out that there are 800,000 Poles living & working in the UK.. Almost all migrated there in the past 5 years..There are a lot of other migrants from other EU countries: Italy Spain , Portugal, Greece, the Baltic states, etc.. Plus a whole lot of migrants/refugees from non EU countries who get a visa to live anywhere in the EU and choose to live in the UK because the living conditions are better than say Greece.. .And under EU rules the British government has no say at all about this…

      I don’t think that Filipinos would cop this. And that is why Brexit happened

      • josephivo says:

        1.2 million Brits working in EU countries too. Will these mostly better paid Brits be wanting to go back to clean offices, pick strawberries…?

        • bill in oz says:

          Living or working ? Mostly retired in Spain I think.. Keeping the Spamish economy ticking over.. Ditto in France. Not that many in Belgium or Germany, or Poland or Netherlands etc.

  18. cwl says:

    It is so amusing that numerous articles and books were written helping to explain or understand the root cause poverty in this country. The ills pointed vary from what political perspectives one is holding such as Joma’s The Philippine Society and the Revolution and the World Bank Report. They are two of the extremes and being two well-thought pieces, one of the two could be right.

    Other books attribute the country’s backwardness to religion, culture and geographical location.
    But no extensive study has been made in the past pointing to form of government/political subdivisions as culprits in the mess that we are in.

    Now, why the rush to Federalism and Parliamentary forms of government?

    Our models will be Britain for Parliamentary and US and the disbanded USSR for Federalism.
    All other countries in the world today copied those models one way or the other.

    But those model countries adopted those systems not to cure their country’s ills but because those were the demands of time. Britain’s Parliament is a tool to appease the nobility while US Federal was a necessity at that time because of the need to unite fiercely independent colonies to thwart any attempt by Britain to regain power in Northern America.

    But here, why the rush? Just because those are pet dreams of Duterte. Are we getting ahead of history?

    • bill in oz says:

      Why use the UK & the USSR as models ? There are 2 neighboring countries that are Federal parliamentary democracies.. Malaysia & Australia.. And both use the English language extensively so no major language issues vis a vis Philippines…

      • cwl says:

        What are the models of Malaysia and Australia? I believe they are former colonies of Britain. I just cited the main models.

      • bill in oz says:

        In fact the ASEAN also provides a great variety of different models
        Viet Nam ; one party communist state
        Brunei : Absolute monarchy
        Thailand : monarchy with military governments & elected parliaments
        Indonesia : presidential democracy with strong regional governments
        Timur L’Este : Presidential & parliamentary mixed government
        Cambodia : semi official one party state with barely tolerated opposition parties
        Papua New guinea : Originally a parliamentary democracy which has evolved towards a corrupt ‘elected dictatorship’ in the past 5 years.. And still evolving that way…

    • karlgarcia says:

      Who said that the form of government will alleviate poverty and who said that the form of government causes poverty?
      Poverty will always be there,no matter where you go.

      • cwl says:

        So what is egging the incoming admin to change the system? what will it solve when the current system is I think stable or at least working?

        • karlgarcia says:

          definitely not to solve poverty. The theme is always imperial manila this,imperial manila that.

          • cwl says:

            OK. Clearer now. Thanks. But then, the change concerns more with the relationships between “imperial manila” and the provinces which well-entrenched provincial politicians now suddenly abhor.
            Now, I wonder if a sakada in Negros or kainginero in Bukidnon have views same of those politicians towards the so-called imperial Manila.

            • karlgarcia says:

              That us why a referendum is important.And before any referendum educate all,let them know of all the implications,no surprises.
              My opinion of Brexit,the people really do not know what the implications are,they just got sick and tired of something maybe immigrants,maybe something else.
              Here as josephivo correctly puts it,we still vote for celebrities,I may add criminals,rebels,etc.

      • Form of government is so important that it does not only affect poverty but the consequences of improper system of running the country could cause misery, chaotic, full of injustice.

    • karlgarcia says:

      @CWL,you might want to add this to your reading list.If you have not read it.


      The book outlines the areas where there are deficiencies in the democratic system in the Philippines. From democratic institutions to social and economic systems and processes, the authors argue that it is imperative to reform such institutions and processes in order to fulfill the promises of democracy.

  19. karlgarcia says:

    Hey Lance,
    Mrs. Roxas answered your querries regarding homeschooling,though she addressed you as JoeAmerica by mistake.

  20. My own FB Learning Center posting on this: the two most important questions always:

    WHY and HOW? These questions should be applied to Federalism for example – which I have seen working in Germany.

    WHY Filipino federalism? So local dynasties can get a bigger share of the “dilihensiya” that might be in pork barrel Congress? So local businessmen can have their share of oligarchic profits?

    Or so that the people in the provinces can have better lives? Depending on the real purpose, one can think of the HOW.

    Maybe this should be the basis for a better and more goal-oriented discussion.

    • If only we have something like question time in this country…

      Personally though, I think the best course of action would be to prioritize transition to a parliamentary form of government rather than a federal one. It is indeed probably true that federalism will help decentralize powers from the north but this will first require a strong government institution. I think a parliamentary would probably help in developing that.

      • cwl says:

        What ails the presidential form of government that it cannot develop strong government institutions, If I may follow your argument. Conversely, what strength parliamentary form possesses to develop strong government institutions. Something ails the system but we must be careful with what we will decide. Reminds me of Brexit, people in Britain are fed up so they exited from the Union. Yet, they are not sure of consequences. They just want to get out. Period. Same here. Fed up with presidential, so let us get parliamentary.

        • In a way, yes. The presidential form of government does make it hard to develop strong government institutions. From what I see, the legislative powers is too weak and idiotic due to reasons like celebrity politics, turncoatism gridlocks, little to no discussion of polcies, etc. When compared to a parliamentary one, do you think that this problems will be addressed? Looking at other countries, it seems that it can.

          And I think know what you’re going to say. Those are other countries. Will it work on our country? Well, Unless we discuss and study it further, we really can’t say for certain. As of now, the best we could do is only base the possible outcomes by learning from what other countries had experienced. Learn from others and from history, no?

          And yes, sure people who are looking for reforms are fed up. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should drop the option altogether. We can still be rational about it, right? We should of course weigh the consequences and consider it the possibilities. And with Brexit, that does seem to have been lacking.

          • Dammit. Lots of typos and errors. Sorry about that. -_-

            And on how the reforms should be implemented, I’m of course hoping that it won’t be rushed. how we start it and the transition would be very important. But in the case that we do indeed still fuck up, I think we would still be laying a better foundation for more reforms in the future if this does push through.

    • rzb says:

      Please correct me if this basis for supporting federalism or decentralization is flawed. Though I cannot import the map for the Poverty Incidence in the Philippines, areas outside Metro Manila and key cities showed higher incidence. The highest is in CAR and ARMM. NCR shows the lowest. INEQUITABLE GOVERNMENT SPENDING might answer the question WHY.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        Allow me to join this exchange by citing the finding of AIM (shown recently on ANC, hosted by Tony Velasquez) that the regions where political dynasties are strongest correlates very highly with poverty incidence. ARMM and CAR belong to this group.

        PDF file of AIM study:


        So you have to take into account all these – govt spending, political dynasties, plus maybe a few more variables (access to information) as having greatest effect on poverty incidence.

        If we just throw more money into Mindanao and give more power to them, but the Ampatuans and Mangundadatus maintain their hold, we will just see them transform into even bigger monsters.

        Instead of private armies with guns, you will see them have rocket launchers, technicals even armored vehicles of their own.

        • rzb says:

          Thanks for engaging this line of thought. Dynasties are always present, one overthrowing another, vice versa, or both replaced by new clans. The sad thing about the present setup is that these dynasties are controlled by dynasties at NCR who, not only gets their own pie but also partakes of the pies from all the other dynasties. Are they the equalizers? No. What happened to the Maguindanao Massacre after seven years. Good for the media. But where are you DILG?Armed Forces of the Phils.?Has justice for the 60 victims been meted out? WHO CARES. Where are you DOJ? What are the dynasties at NCR doing? when in the first place they were the ones who facilitated the incident just to keep themselves in power.What did Mar Roxas say to Mayor Romualdez during the Yolanda crisis?”You are a Romualdez, the President is an Aquino”. Where are you Office of the President? Does local dynasties have to make “sipsip” to national dynasties to assure their share of the budget or relief funds when they were the source of these funds in the first place? And this practice has been going on for the past… I dont know how many years.Under a federal system, theoretically, budget is realized in real time. Only 25-35% goes to the national coffers. Regions or states will have their own DILG, DOJ, DSWD, DECS, DOH, etc. who can MAKE DECISIONS instantly. Government contracts are awarded to local contractors and suppliers INSTANTLY DEVELOPING LOCAL ECONOMIES AND EASING POVERTY! And its easy to SEE where the taxes are going, whether it was used to build classrooms, roads or to buy rocket launchers or armored vehicles. The present setup only develops the NCR economy where all government spending is done, to Manila-based contractors awarded through bidding – from printing of books, driver’s license, road construction and rehab, buying fertilizers, etc.This is an old colonial setup and has to be replaced with a more responsive system. If the old giant corporations are undergoing reengineering, why not the government to become more responsive to the needs of the people?

  21. Nas Escobar says:

    Let us the change system but not write a new constitution. Use the current constitution and add amendments to improve the system. Present government organized around the three co-equal parts is too slow and conflict ridden resulting in gridlock. We could probably with less confusion transition into a presidential/parliamentary system. With the president being the head of state and a prime minister being the head of government. A separate list of responsibilities can then be made for the head of state and head of government respectively. The objective is for the government to be more effective and responsive to the needs of the people. The senate may be elected by regions increasing its members to say 4 per region plus ofw representation. We could probably eliminate the position of vice president. There might be a need to review the number of members of the lower in relation to current population. The party system need to be reformed to prevent party switching and add some kind of anti dynasty feature. The judiciary part may remain as is that is an independent part of the government. We have the makings of a federal system in present regional division. But I think we have to go deliberately and slowly. Add say more taxing and spending powers to the regions in increments and see how it goes. Give the LGUs training and experience for greater responsibilities. After say 10 years we may decide to go full federal or some other hybrid system. But changing the whole system within the term of the incoming president is probably too much for us to absorb in such a short time.

    • cwl says:

      I am confused. The first line of you comment is “Let us change the system…” but the last line says ” But changing the whole system within a term of incoming president is too much …” Anyway, I agree with some of your points. But still, and still I reiterate, are they the real problems of the country?

      • cwl says:

        Even if you change only a fraction of the system, you are, in effect, changing the system. Because system by its definition is always exact.

        • bill in oz says:

          Why not thinking of it as ‘evolving’ rather than major dramatic change ? A change to a parliamentary democracy could be achieved simply by changing the role of the president from an executive role to national symbol role… Meanwhile the government would be formed by the party or coalition of parties, which has a majority in Congress

  22. Bert says:

    “WHY Filipino federalism? So local dynasties can get a bigger share of the “dilihensiya” that might be in pork barrel Congress? So local businessmen can have their share of oligarchic profits?

    Or so that the people in the provinces can have better lives? Depending on the real purpose, one can think of the HOW.”—Irineo

    Broken into:

    1. “So local dynasties can get a bigger share of the “dilihensya” that might be in pork barrel….”

    2. “So local businessmen can have their share of oligarchic profits?”

    3. “Or so that the people in the provinces can have better lives?

    My comment: There is only one consideration for me to vote in favor of Federalism in a referendum, and that is number 3. I totally agree with my friend Irineo. The HOW is very important.

    • karlgarcia says:

      if ever,number 3 can make me vote for federalism ,but only after seeing number 4 onwards.

    • bill in oz says:

      Bert, Karl, the new government is committed to a ‘Federal’ Philippines…And with super-majorities in congress & senate, I suspect it will happen…

      So questions abut ‘why’ are irrelevant.

      It would be really good to see suggestions about the ‘what’ of this federalism…Constructive suggestions might even be listened to..

      I have one suggestion : that the new states be given authority to make laws on land titles, land use, zoning etc. Controversial perhaps.. But in a nation with 7000 islands and so many different cultures, this is exactly the sort of issue which is best handled locally rather than by far way distant Manila

    • In case it does not work out well, there still the #BicolExit option.

  23. After hours of coding to parse data from some wiki pages, I’m finally done. =D

    Basically made tables of indicator rankings showing every country while also showing their government types.

    The indicators use are:
    Corruption Perception Index (2015, Transparency International)
    Index of Economic Freedom (2016, Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation)
    GDP(Nominal) (2015, IMF)

    If anyone is interested:

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks,hope you will keep it there for a long time.Will check it out.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      1. Excellent job.

      2. Some initial observations:

      2.1. Looking at the CPI and IEF tables, it would seem, right off the bat, that the parliamentary form of government is superior to the presidential form.

      2.2. I would ignore the GDP table as a basis for determining which form of government is better. There are other factors to consider such as size, population, resources, level of industrialization and technology, and so on.

      3. In both the CPI and IEF tables, I arbitrarily focused on the top 31 countries. The 31st position is occupied by a South East Asian nation. In the case of CPI, Taiwan, and in IEF, Malaysia.

      3.1. In the CPI, Malaysia is ranked 54, and the Philippines 98 (out of 168 countries).

      3.2. In the IEF, Taiwan is ranked 14, and the Philippines 76.

      3.3. In both tables, the Philippine ranking is relatively abysmal.

      3.4. In both the CPI and IEF tables, only 9 of the top 31 countries are NOT parliamentary. That is, less than a full third (29%). This is remarkable.

      4. I would take the CPI table as indicative of two things: (a) the “natural” anti-corruption morality of the people as reflected in the country’s culture; and (b) the “developed” anti-corruption morality of the people as instituted by government controls.

      4.1. As to the first, my impression is that the countries of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and Japan are “naturally” moral.

      4.2. As to the second, my impression is that the countries of Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have developed institutional morality.

      4.2.1. To my mind, there is a clear British influence in the institutionalization of anti-corruption morality. In the top 31 countries, several countries were part of the British Empire: New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.

      5. I would suggest the IEF table be used as the basis for a more detailed analysis of the two forms of government.

      5.1. The first column, “Federal?,” indicates Federalism is NOT a major factor?

      5.2. The third column, “Unitary?,” indicates most parliamentary forms are unicameral. I am not sure this makes much of a difference.

      5.3. The fourth column, “Monarchy?,” to me is significant. Countries with a royal heritage have an X Factor. I note that almost one-half of the top 31 countries have a monarch. Arguably, some of the non-monarchial countries have royal roots.

      5.3.1. Note that “Monarchy?” is the opposite of “Republic?”.

      6. Finally, I am under the impression that the parliamentary form of government in South East Asian countries was partly successful because of the dominance of a single party that ruled in each country for a considerable period of time. This may become the Philippine experience.

      • edgar lores says:

        Item 5.3 may be more than cursorily significant. In Oz, the symbol of the constitutional monarch has been described as a “safety valve,” a choice or refuge of last resort, in theory and in practice. This is to say that the success of the parliamentary form may not be entirely attributable to its substance.

        • bill in oz says:

          Edgar, the significance & role of the Monarch’s representative ( the Governor General) in Australia is I think perplexing for outsiders.

          The GG is chosen/nominated for a 5 year term by the PM & his government ,with by courtesy, the concurance of the leader of the opposition.

          The actual monarch in London has had no role in nomination or selection since 1928..In 1931 a Labor government nominated a Jewish person to be GG. The monarch objected. And the PM with great courage and conviction demanded that the Australian government’s nomination be accepted. The king ( George IV ) was forced to back down

          In 1999 there was a referendum to try and change the GG into a president and make Australia a republic. The people said NO to the proposed change.

          I admit all very curious

          • edgar lores says:

            I believe the significance of a Constitutional Monarch is that, behind the Rule of Law, there is an absolute ruler the government and the people can turn to as a last resort.

            Sort of like a God in heaven. In actual practice, the Monarch is non-interventionist. (The Governor-General, the local representative of the Monarch may be interventionist.) But knowing that there is a God makes the government and the people behave. And the God is not only the Queen or King but the entire royal family. And there is awe and reverence to the notion of an earthly nobility that commands devotion and obeisance. As Joseph would put it, it is in our genes.

            • bill in oz says:

              Ummmmm ! Really an interesting thought..Nice

              • Interesting thought indeed. I remember discussing the same thing with someone I’ve met a while ago. The said person believes that countries with monarchies are one of the best form of government. And I think it isn’t actually far off. Why? Maybe think of Hobbes’ Social Contract? Sure if you analyze Hobbes’ claim enough, the social contract will have its flaws and it may not work. However, I think the majority of people won’t analyze it that deeply so they’ll actually have no problems with it. To be blunt, there are many ‘serfs’ that want to follow a ‘ruler’ in name. But hey, I think it actually works so let it be? End justifies the means? Heh.

            • Juana Pilipinas says:

              Maybe Ireneo is right. We need to go back to ancient history when we had Malay royalties like the Lakans and revisit our noble beginning. We need something to be collectively proud about as a nation. All the history of foreign invasions obfuscated our identity. We are people with identity crisis.

      • The way I see it, these are just raw data so it is indeed really hard to make any proper and concrete conjectures. However, I think a better research would be to gather data about a specific countries that had undergone transitioning or is currently undergoing transitioning. As of now, I’m going to take a break. Heh.

        But if you could help me out with what countries may have gone or is currently undergoing transition, I think it would be of great help.

        And some random research, I seem to have a hard time looking for countries that went from parliamentary to presidential. From what I’ve researched, France did it back in 1958 and it was for a transition to a semi-presidential form of government. Most countries are transitioning the opposite, which is from presidential to parliamentary.

        As for federalism, it does seem to be for specific cases.

        • edgar lores says:

          I believe you have done a great job… that can be used to make certain conjectures and conclusions.

          We just have to be careful in interpreting the raw data.

      • chempo says:

        Edgars’s 4.2.1. To my mind, there is a clear British influence in the institutionalization of anti-corruption morality. In the top 31 countries, several countries were part of the British Empire: New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.

        That is Britanica’s legacy. The greatest credits due to the Brits is that they left behind in all their ex colonies, institutionalised civil service, and legal structures. Basically, they thought us how to govern ourselves, in a civilised manner.

    • bill in oz says:

      Now that is an interesting list.. But I am unsure about the significance of column B.. Is it a ranking of some sort ? Have I missed something ?
      A couple of comments..
      1 Myanmar was until last year a military dictatorship from 1962.
      2 Papua New Guinea is a ‘parliamentary democracy’. However under the rule of PM O’Neil, it has become far more authoritarian than any previous government, and corrupt. In the past Australia has been a powerful & stabilising patron always requiring democratic rule.
      However in recent years the Australian government has become far too ‘beholden’ grateful, to O’Neil’s government because of the his being willing to accept ‘boat people’ into PNG.
      But the ONeil regime is under chalenge in the courts & in the PNG parliament.

      Moral of this : lots of outside money can undermine & corrupt even a parliamentary democracy

      3 Malaysia has been ruled by the same coalition of parties since 1968 ( Barisan National) coalition. But because of government policies the cuuntry is now a urban nation while the seats to the parliament still reflect the former rural population base. As a result UMNO has become more open to corruption as it becomes less accountable to the urban majority population. Najib the PM is on the nose as a known massively corrupt leader. I expect real political instability in the next few years. But maybe his coalition will break up and lead to a new government.. That would be more peaceful.

      Moral : Ensure that the Electoral Commission functions independently of government.

      • edgar lores says:

        Those two moral lessons are important. It cannot be assumed that a parliamentary form will automatically do away with autocratic government and corruption.

        I believe the ideal of the parliamentary form is that programs and policies are more comprehensively and deeply developed and thereby more articulated to the people. This is due to the maturation of ideology-based political parties. And the articulation of policies educates the people in turn, presenting them with real choices and making them more mature as well.

        But parliamentarism does NOT inherently do away with personality-based and patronage politics. There is nothing in the form that guarantees that.

        • bill in oz says:

          But do we live in a post ideological world ? Where only very close accountability to voters prevents corruption ?

          • edgar lores says:

            I don’t believe so. Fukuyama is wrong; it is not the end of history. The binary of democracy and communism may well be gone, but we still classify politicians and parties according to where they stand in the political spectrum.

        • True, but I think parliamentarism will probably help make the problem become so apparent that it would become almost impossible to ignore. Unlike with presidentialism where it can usually and easily try to keep all the underlying problems from surfacing thus prolonging the suffering of the constituents.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            How does parliamentarism make the problem more apparent?

            • bill in oz says:

              I am not sure about ‘apparent’ either.
              What happens is that there is a declared opposition, seeking to discredit & find out any instances of corruption, and so undermine the government majority in parliament to gain power for itself..
              This process puts a brake on corruption .It also ensures that government policy mistakes are brought to public attention.

              • To clarify on parliamentarism making the problems apparent: I think what I meant was compared to presidentialism. parliamentarism can make the problems much more apparent so that it can be easily rectified. I think there is a crucial difference? Poor word construction. Sorry.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Agree… to a degree.

                In Oz, each party audits the other with respect to branch stacking, the rorting of expenses, and donations.

                But corruption has many forms. In the Philippines, the most blatant are outright thievery of government funds (e.g. Napoles); thievery of foreign loans (e.g. Marcos); kickbacks (e.g. Binay); bribery (e.g. judiciary); influence-peddling (e.g. all politicians); cronyism (e.g. Marcos); nepotism (e.g. all politicians); “insider trading” (e.g. placement of strategic investments due to foreknowledge of government plans); etc.

                Some of these forms are hard to detect in Oz… such as kickbacks, bribery, influence-peddling and “insider trading.” These forms would be hard to detect in any form of government.

            • Ah yes, I forgot to elaborate the problems. Sorry.

              From what I see, one of the main problems of the current government is that legislative power is too weak and idiotic due to reasons like celebrity politics, turncoatism, political gridlocks, etc. which causes little to no proper discussion of policies. Parang ang nangyayari, palakasan na lang lagi. Seldom are decisions based on merit.

              As for how will parliamentatism make the problem apparent:

              (This site above is actually a great repository of info regarding the transition to a federal-parliamentary form of government for the PH. I would actually like to add more links but I think my comment will be placed in moderation again. =D)

              As for presidentialism, though it could also be made to address the problems above by making changes and amendments, I can’t help but think that it will basically be adapting aspects of parliamentarism so it seems to be not much different. The end goal would probably still be parliamentary. But again, and I think I can’t repeat it it enough, this shouldn’t probably be rushed. It should be considered, yes, but a proper transition would surely benefit us in the short term. So we would probably start by introducing amendments little by little to the current system?

              And on other parliamentary countries having problems now like say, Malaysia. Well, how about we put it into perspective:

              Imagine if Malaysia had a Presidential form of government? Do you think that their state will improve or deteriorate?

              • bill in oz says:

                Re Malaysia, I suspect worse as there would be more opportunities for corruption and fewr constraints..But Malaysia has a very odd system.. The sutans of the Malay states are each ‘king’ Yang Di Persuar Nagar for 5 years.. But it is a titular role. The governors of Penang, Malacca, Sabah & Sarawak do not get the chance as they are not royals.

              • bill in oz says:

                BTW.. It’s an excellent website ! It is very comprehensive and even got me realising a few things about a parliamentary system that I had not realised.. Very very good.

              • josephivo says:

                “this shouldn’t probably be rushed”

                One thing is sure, more of the same leads to more of the same. Without change things will not change.

                Change has basically two approaches, nature’s trial and errors and rational change, Trial and error only works when a good feedback system is in place, often the trial is fast the feedback is slow. Rational change is slow because it often needs building new “science” and careful thinking. Americans tend to trial and error, Germans tend to rational change. The Philippines to no change at all as the elite is doing so well, they are very conservative.

                Du30 a game changer and introducing trial and error? What are his feedback loops?

              • bill in oz says:

                “If you keep on doing what you have always done
                You will always get what you have always got ”

                I think Du30 knows this & gets it.
                So change is coming, ready or not.

              • edgar lores says:


                Some of the bullet points on the left-side column are not tenable:

                o As I have stated above, I don’t believe parliamentarism will do away with personality-based politics. (In Oz, media personalities have entered politics.)
                o In Oz, campaigns have turned presidential with voters making decisions based on the personality of the party leader; the local member is often unknown.
                o All elections are expensive, whether parliamentary or not. The remedies, such as spending caps and government support of election funding, are feasible under any system.
                o The parliament can be bicameral. (I would support this: a senate can act as a good check-and-balance.)
                o Gridlock also happens in parliamentary systems. Examples:
                – When a minority government is formed and the passage of important bills is hamstrung
                – When the senate rejects lower house bills in a bicameral system
                – When the winning party repeals a bill passed into law by the losing party that previously held government.
                o In Oz, pork barrel funds are used to influence voting in marginal seats.
                o Emotional? Cerebral? Hah! (In Oz, elections are sometimes won on the basis of easily understood mantras. If Duterted had “Stop drugs!” Julia Gillard had “No carbon tax!” and Tony Abbott had “Stop the boats!”)
                o No incompetent leaders? Double hah! (In Oz, we have had a succession of Prime Ministers in a very short time.)
                o The quality of laws depend on the lawmakers’ acuity and vision which can be good or bad in whatever form of government exist.
                o The inefficiency of the system does not depend on the form of government. Red tape can exist anywhere. One also has to contend with cultural factors (e.g. divorce) and the ability of procedural analysts (if any).
                o With rampant turncoatism, it is easy to pass bills in the Philippines.

                I guess my point is: what factor or factors comprise the overwhelming superiority of parliamentarism? And will these factors apply to the Philippines? Or can they be made to apply?

                By the way the intra-party and inter-party argument presented in the link apply to both presidential and parliamentary forms.

                o In the US, the process of winning state primaries is an intra-party winnowing of leadership. (In the Philippines, presidential candidates are oligarchs (social and business elite), politicians turned oligarchs, or personalities supported by oligarchs. In a way, in whatever system, cream does rise to the top.)

                o It is true that, also in a way, the intra-party competition ensures that a good debater rises to the top. But a good talker is not necessarily a good leader or a good decision-maker. In Oz politics, I have Rudd and Abbott in mind.

              • bill in oz says:

                Edgar, all that you say is true.No argument.. But I think you still prefer the Oz wa to the current Filippino way..

                Changing leaders ( churn ) I see it as good.I would add Howard’s loss in 2007 & Gillard being dumped in 2013…These changes of PM happened because those leaders lost the respect & support of a majority of voters.. Because eventually the parties are forced to recognise the will of the voters.

              • edgar lores says:

                Bill, thanks. Definitely I favor the Oz way. Let me try to clarify my position.

                1. I am convinced that parliamentarism is superior to presidentialism. The logic of parliamentarism is convincing — in theory if not in fact.

                2. I am NOT convinced that parliamentarism will work in the Philippines. at least not in the way its advocates seem to believe. Why? Let me try to lay out my reasons.

                2.1. In successful parliamentary governments, there is the historical factor of royalty.

                2.2. The parliamentary form requires a higher level of maturity than the presidential form in the parties as well as the electorate.

                o The parties to develop and articulate programs of governments.
                o The electorate to examine and choose the better program of government.

                2.3. The formation of political parties in the parliamentary form has been organic… based on what Joseph calls fault lines. The dominant fault lines have been economic based, social class based or even race based. Such fault lines exist in the Philippines, but there has not been sufficient polarization to give rise to stable and opposing party ideologies.

                2.4. The parliamentary form requires a higher level of morality in the culture than the presidential form. Our culture — oh, the culture! — of corruption, dynasties, warlordism, patronage, mendicity, mendacity, mediocrity, turn-coatism, cronyism, nepotism, authoritarianism, sycophancy, hypocrisy, vote-selling and vote-buying, expediency, disobedience of the law, lack of principle — all of these would vitiate against the success of parliamentarism. (Ok, I am laying it on a bit thick.)

                2.5. I may think of more – as if 2.4 were not enough — but that’s it for the moment.

              • josephivo says:

                Yes, but isn’t Edgars point not to pretend a decision was rational by listing arguments that look rational but in fact you made a decision only out of love or intuitively or as a trial and error thing just to get things moving?

                And luckily people take irrational decisions too.

              • Hmmm. One has to consider the users when introducing a piece of software…

                Meaning parliamentary with Filipino attitudes might go the same way as Congress today. From 1981-1986 it was KBL vs. LABAN, the exact role of UNIDO/Laurel I don’t recall well.

              • @Edgar Lores

                It is true that considering the culture, things may actually not change. However, if that is the case, what’s the risk of still pushing for the reforms then?

                As said by LCpl_X somewhere in the comments here, only 3 possible things can happen.
                (Though it was for federalism, but it could also probably be applied with the other reforms) ,
                1). it’ll improve the Philippine condition

                2). it’ll make it worst

                3). same-same, no difference

                And on #2, I think it will probably be only marginally worst as the problem is already existing and rooted. This means that it is actually no different from #3. So what’s to lose anyways? At least with the proposed reforms, we will be opening new doors and avenues for possible changes unlike now where we have stagnated for quite a while. The possible adversity will encourage, if not even, force discourse and discussion. And these are one of the things severely lacking in this country.

                But then again, I think we are not meeting with our points. So how about a clarification of stances? Because from what I see, your issue with the reforms is that it may not work as hoped. And I do concede that it may not. However, given this possibility of the reforms not working as expected, does it mean that we should not push through with it anymore? Because that is how I currently perceive your stance. Do correct me if I’m wrong though.

                But personally though, I think the country is stuck in a severe negative feedback loop. Where culture feeds the institutions crap, and, the institutions feeds culture crap. And given this loop, where do you suppose would it be easier to start implementing changes so that we can break the loop?

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Thanks. Good points all and well argued.

                Joseph mentioned that there are basically two approaches: trial and error and rational change.

                I am — or was — a systems man, so I would take the second approach. Also, in this forum, we not only present our advocacies, but more importantly we take it is an article of faith that we discuss things to arrive at a deeper understanding of things.

                My stance therefore is: let’s look and analyze this thing — as we are doing — and see what are the obstacles. Let’s identify each obstacle and come up with possible solutions.

                Above all, let’s not jump into this thing, helter-skelter, with eyes closed and nothing but high hopes.

                Now, are the solutions workable under parliamentarism? If so, why so?

                Can they be applied under the present system? If not, why not?

                To me, the only acceptable option of LCpl_X is option 1: things must improve.

                Option 3 — same-same — is NOT, cannot be, without difference. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” is a step backward because the mere appearance of change without real change increases cynicism. And let’s not encourage the tendency to superficiality of the Filipino psyche.

                Option 2 — things get worse — is a real possibility. Just take one or two of the down sides Irineo and I have mentioned: corruption or warlordism under federalism. How will parliamentarism solve these?

                Remaining under presidentialism is not stagnation. Why the neediness for change? The country has not been standing still. It is a rising star in the Asian firmament. Change and progress have been constant.

              • “where do you suppose would it be easier to start implementing changes so that we can break the loop?” Karl has suggested the barangay as the place to start.

                I have added regions/cantons i.e. groups of communities as the second place to start.

                Guess you need to break the vicious cycles at all levels, but is the will really there? The lack of willingness to break out of comfort zones is a very Filipino weakness.

              • @Irineo, the idea is indeed good. However, as you’ve said, the lack of willingness to break out of comfort zones is a very Filipino weakness. Though it would probably good for the long run, we would probably have trouble starting it and maintaining it. Like always. -_-

                But I think someone has already said here somewhere that Filipinos tend to fall short on most of their plans. So given that, why not just start big? Sure, we may screw up but there will surely be some gains. Then we try again and again until those gains build up to something significant. I know that it is very inefficient but, hey, that’s better than stagnating, no?

              • @Edgar Lores

                Regarding the two approaches, trial & error and rational change, I’d just like to say that it doesn’t have to be either one. We could actually use both? It’s just that I think we can probably be flexible and adapt to as what the situation needs. =)

                As for your stance, I now understand and I agree. And of course, we really do have to study this properly. However, given the nature of Filipinos, it is just that I think we should also jump in if we can. Because from experience, Filipinos tend to work better as the need arises. That if there is no need, there would probably be no actions. Hence what I said to Irineo about the idea of starting big.

                As for federalism, I think that we really shouldn’t push for it as of now. We would surely need strong institutions for that. But as for parliamentarism, well, I really can’t seem to see a downside that is not also existing with the current form of government.

                Lastly, on stagnation, yes, I do agree that we have been progressing and changing. None can deny that. However, I think what I meant by stagnation is that the rate of progress is still almost the same. We all know that it could surely be better but it seems that none has ever really done anything about it, hence the ‘stagnation’. But why is that? Maybe because it seems that the problem had become too complex to isolate and we can’t seem to decide on where to start and this is probably what is causing the said ‘stagnation’? So in a way, I think my stance now would be something like: Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks? Sure it may seem overkill, but… I really don’t know… Maybe I’m becoming to desperate for change? Hmm… Maybe. But whose to say that a huge and strong push is something that we do NOT need to get the Filipinos moving? To be honest, I’m not expecting that Filipinos will actually change from a gentle push. It seems that it usually has to be the former.

              • Joe America says:

                The depth of poverty has been horrendous. It takes time, and progress IS being made.

              • bill in oz says:

                Edgar, Inrineo, there is an old term found in old novels & history books.”Pocket Boroughs” It refers to a rural seat in the House of Commons which “belonged” to a local oligarch or aristocrat.. because he organised the voters to vote for his candidate.

                They started to disappear in the 1880’s and were gone by 1910’s.. Why ? The great reform Acts of the 1860’s giving the vote to alll adult men… And the formation of the British Labor Party..

              • edgar lores says:

                That’s an apt term. There are many pocket boroughs in the Philippines… so it would seem.

            • bill in oz says:

              I believe in democracy. Government by the people.. Parliamentary democracy is an effective way of doing this.

              But it is absurd to think that all people are rational and make rational decisions.. The people have a right to make their own democratic decisions..How that happens in their heads is for them to work out..We all have our unique humaness.

  24. Our leaders know that our country have to prioritised of what we need right now, there are so many basic things still unfulfilled for so long that we have to focus on.
    If people are hungry, very poor, parents that have so many children to feed, lack of opportunity, no job are mostly people that don’t follow rules, ignorant, see drugs as a escape to the problem etc., etc.,
    Why we don’t tackle problem by prioritising them & gradually. You don’t run a full marathon without your 5k, 10k, 10 miles, half & then your full.
    If they will be put our economy as priority there are so many things there that putting a new system of government will come last to the priority.
    ECONOMY- what are things that are related in growing the economy to be tackled. There are so much things already there & that is only 1 agenda.
    Federalism maybe worth studying in the future but we can’t afford right now.

    • josephivo says:

      As Bill Clinton said: “It is The Economy, stupid.”

      So you are not alone and probably correct. And with Economy you mean economic growth I guess, or more precise growth and wealth and income distribution. Several types of growth engines can be envisages: government spending, with infrastructure having the highest multiplier factor; micro- and small enterprises, most consumption driven, and investments in labor intensive industries/services… Distribution can be improved by: redistribution via taxation and programs as PPPP, minimum wages, sending people abroad where wages are higher…

      Unfortunately, all these “priority” actions are interwoven with society. Positively with demographics, education levels, confidence/stability… negatively with corruption, dynasties, red tape…. and most important with politics, political will and the political machinery. In other words, all priority actions need enablers. Federalism and a parliamentarian system could be two of them, but as I said these two words are container concepts, they can mean one thing and the opposite, depending on what type of federalism and what type of parliamentarian system.

  25. josephivo says:

    Of topic.

    Eskimos and Brexit.

    When Eskimos grow old and are just a burden to the tribe, they disappear somewhere on the ice. In Brexit we saw the opposite, a clear split between the “leaving” nostalgic old people and the “remaining”, more adventures young world citizens. The retirees voted massively with nostalgic motives but really out of boredom, the younger people voted less, they had to juggle with work, getting children ready to school, traffic…

    The youth complaining that the elderly by voting to leave tool put a heavy mortgage on their future.

    Seeing all these 70iers in Du30’s cabinet… fighting for their nostalgic past or for the future of the millennials?

    • Joe America says:

      Perhaps they seek to leave on a high note, or are correcting past errors. There could be an upside.

      • josephivo says:

        Correcting past errors by burying plastic corpses as heroes?

        At 70 it is ok to be an advisors, but not in executive functions. It is not our future, their should come a time that you dare to let go.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, they haven’t buried it yet, and have yet to face the real world. It is not the age or religion or gender that makes decisions. It is the person.

          • josephivo says:

            But Catholics shouldn’t tell what Muslims have to do, but they can advise. Man should not decide for women, but they can advise. Old stock should not rule the productive generation, but the can advise.

            Equal opportunity, you really sound as an American.

            (and mental age is not always calendar age, it has also to do attitudes, curiosity, energy, adaptably and the quality of the barber…)

            • Joe America says:

              Well, I prefer the vigor and ambition of youth myself, but am trying to get away from prejudging ahead of results. Someone is not automatically senile because they are old, but because they are senile.

    • josephivo says:

      For the less than 25 years, 75% wanted to remain, 25 to 50 years 56% wanted to remain, only older than 50 English and Welch wanted to leave!

      Only people with junior high or less wanted to leave – 66%, all with more education wanted remain.

      So the elderly decide what the future of the productive people should be.

      So the uneducated decide what the future should be for finance, manufacturing, higher education and all those badly affected by the exit.

      In no other election there were so many shameless inaccuracies, e.g.: “Britain contributes 350 million pounds a week or 18 billion a year” – net contribution is 4 billion, 0.25% of GNI, compare to 0.35% for Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium, 0.29% for France and Italy…, “1/5 in the UK are foreigners” – instead of 5%, “27%the European budget goes to beaurocracy” – in reality only 6%, “no democratic institutions” – the European parliament is elected and shares powers with the council (this are the head of states – democratically elected in their states)…

      Shouldn’t we rethink some of our “democratic” processes? Any lessons for the Philippines?

  26. bill in oz says:

    @Irineo.. re ‘From 1981-1986 it was KBL vs. LABAN, ‘
    Come on Irineo.. we all know that was a Marcos directed bit of ‘Wayang Kulit’ — puppet play

  27. karlgarcia says:

    Re: senex cabinet
    they say there are many spare tires just waiting for a major mistake.
    sort of a waiting list,though Cayetano is the only obvious one.

  28. bill in oz says:

    @ Intuitive percieving “To be honest, I’m not expecting that Filipinos will actually change from a gentle push. It seems that it usually has to be the former'”
    Umm but this time the people pushing are all Filipinos..Not Spanish or Americans or Japanese.. not even Australians : -)

    • I know, and that is surely something! However, if you look at it closely, they had to be promised great change before they acted. Not that I’m complaining though as it is still some progress to say the least. However, I think I won’t be surprised if the people’s movement would just be ningas cogon. Motivated only at the start. A bit cynical? I know. But I seem to think that Duterte knows that as well. Hence, the huge promises to keep the people on their toes? So come this December, (The deadline for his 6 month promise/goal) there would probably be another promise/goal. Probably the reforms above. Probably.

    • @bill in oz, I just found out about something regarding the site http://correctphilippines.org/. A bit off topic, I know, but it seems to be that the founder of the CoRRECT movement is one of the pioneering members of GetRealPH. This actually got me curious about the links between the two, given GRP’s, uhm… form of literature. But as a person who enjoys seeing lots of perspectives and possibilities and the connections between them, I couldn’t help but dive in and search around. And I think I can say that it was good that I found that out. It really didn’t occur to me as of now to check the perspective from the GRP camp. And it is actually quite a spectrum. Especially the comments as always.

      (Though a bit of a warning, it does get a bit toxic at times given that there was actually a squabble between the CoRRECT movement & GRP as it seems to have become personal. Not that GRP is already toxic enough. But still, some good views nonetheless.)

      ” The parliamentary system is not a solution at all. It is a grab for power under the guise of change. More than 50 percent of our people live below the poverty line, and they ache terribly for reforms, for a new group of visionary leaders, for that shaft of political lightning that leads to Damascus. They would perhaps appreciate and agree if the members of Congress who would constitute a Constituent Assembly vote themselves out of the unicameral assembly proposed to be elected in 2004. Yes. Forswear membership. That would convince the citizenry they are noble, serious and sincere. But as things stand, they would be the first to barge into a parliamentary government. And profit handsomely.

      If they fail, and I am almost sure they will fail, they would have poured the additional fuel social unrest needs to explode. In such a situation, they agitate a power-hungry military, already ascendant as the sole political power in violence-prone Mindanao. Tinkering with the constitution when the country is at the crossroads is like playing with a ticking bomb in the schoolyard when the children are at play. That is ghoulish.

      I have said my piece. I say again what we need is not regime change, or change to parliamentary, but a change in our culture, a change in our hearts and minds, in our nature, in our character. The nation heals best when it heals it’s poor and downtrodden. We need a pealing of bells in the night that we might all wake up. If we don’t, what difference is there really? Between those who colonized and conquered us, and robbed us of our pride and dignity, and our present masters, the Filipino rich and powerful? They too would tighten our chains and laugh uproariously and scornfully when the rest of the nation prays. ”



      Now it makes me wonder… What if the Society, GRP and TP walk into a room? Hmm…

      • karlgarcia says:

        What is TP?
        I am familiar with Benedict,so I guess he can be civil face to face,have not met his wife,Though I almost did when Bendedict was picking her up in SM southmall and I happened to have bumped with hiim.

        • TP is ThinkingPinoy.

          Hmm… If the above were to happen, I picture something like the Greek agora or the Roman forum. If not, maybe the Coliseum? Hoho Nonetheless, I think that’ll be awesome. =O

          And also, reading some articles on GRP, I think their point about Filipino culture makes sense. I think that is also what I meant by ‘stagnation’ in this country. Sure as pointed out by many here in the Society**, the Philippines has been improving and progressing under the current administration. And of course, none can ever deny that. However, when it comes to the Filipino’s culture? Well, has anything really changed? And note that when I refer to the Filipino, know that I mean the ‘normal’ Filipino. And personally, it seems to be even getting worse.

          In the context of government systems (Maybe in a generalized context even?), many here are advocating that we should just be patient as change will slowly follow. But will it really? Call me a cynic but I’m pessimistic that it will ever follow. Because for me, I think culture is like a habit. And you don’t just drop a habit unless you really want it. Or if there are extenuating circumstances for you to change. And given the Filipinos affinity for convenience and comfort, do you really think that Filipino’s would want to change? As said by Irineo: The lack of willingness to break out of comfort zones is a very Filipino weakness.

          So given this weakness, what could we do? Well, we make those comfort zones uncomfortable, or, we could introduce a much comfier zone. Sure the latter seems to be the better option but this will usually take time, if not forever. Why? As you already pribably know, most Filipinos are impatient. Sure you could try it still, however, I think you’ll just be wasting time as Filipinos will usually find ways to undermine these efforts. It will be one step forward, two steps back if this is the only option that’ll be used.

          So in addition to the latter, we also use the former? Okay. What then? Well, Filipinos are very “resilient”. And God-freaking-dammit, that is a huge problem. *sigh* Given this, we really have to expend huge amount of effort just to minimize the push by Filipinos against the discomfort for their current habit, then we then slowly introduce the new habit. So in a way, I think this consistent with what I said to Irineo with some few additions. Other than the comfort-discomfort, we should probably also plan big and start big. Sure, we may screw up but there will surely be still some gains. It’ll be like instead of one step forward, two steps back; what we do is: Ten steps forward, nine steps back. Then we try again and again until those gains build up to something significant.

          Sure it is inefficient as it’ll take lots of effort and resources, and not to mention that this’ll probably still take a long time. But hey, I think that’s better than a possible eternity.

          **(Uhm… Should I always capitalize the first letter of Society or will it be considered blasphemy if I don’t? I’m unsure… haha And sorry for the rant-esque post. I think I need to write this down for future reference. =D)

          • karlgarcia says:

            Thank you intuitiveperceiving.
            Now,I remember.
            I was sure it is not the one you use for wiping.

            GRP is right about many things,the way they deliver the message is the problem.

            I do not think it is blasphemy if you just say the society or soh…

            or joeam.com or joeam’s blog. or joe’s blog

            • Joe America says:

              The greatest dismay I have about GRP is that I know benigno is an intelligent guy. He was very forthcoming and helpful in my early days of blog commentary. Alas, he way too often chooses to deploy his intelligence to undermine civility, truth and Philippine dignity, rather than building something.

            • Edgar Lores says:


  29. karlgarcia says:

    Andy we have not forgotten your article.How can we?

    Have you read this one by Ben Duskurso.


    • bill in oz says:

      I just read that post from Feb. 2015.. Interesting & informative.. Only one comment : Don’t abolish the senate ! Transform it. and make it a state/region house of review Elect 3-5 senators from each region/state Eg. from Cordilliera, Bicol,Western Visayas Capital Region, etc…

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Karl, thanks for reminding us of Ben’s piece. I was rereading my comments, and it seems I have been consistent in my views. (Praise the Lord!)

      I seem not to have commented on Andy’s piece as it coincided with my period of retreat. I do remember nodding my head in agreement with Steve’s contributions.

      • karlgarcia says:

        You are welcome.You have always been consistent.I am consistent in changing my mind.

      • karlgarcia says:

        May 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm
        I see no effort here to address the issue of finance, which is a major stumbling block. At present over 85% of the national tax collection is in the NCR, and the provinces and regions, almost without exception, require massive subsidy from the NCR to survive. Most receive more in IRA alone (not including expenditures from DPWH, DepEd, and other national agemcies) than they remit in taxes. Does this Federal structure propose to continue those transfers?

        The assumption that Manila is the cause of provincial underdevelopment is not consistent with observed reality. Development varies widely among cities and provinces: some prosper and progress, others are left behind. The key variable is the quality of local administration. Regions and provinces dominated by feudal dynasties typically have the most stagnant economies, the highest internal inequities of wealth distribution, and the least hope for their residents. How does Federalism address the need to reform governance in the dozen poorest provinces, the pockets of misery that constitute such a high percentage of Philippine poverty. Take for example the province of Dinagat, where over 70% of the populace lives below the poverty line and the Ecleos, the ruling dynasty, live in a 350 million peso palace. How will handing the Ecleos even more power in the guise of “bringing government closer to the people” serve the interests of the province?

        Dagimas would also nod his head.


        • bill in oz says:

          Hi Karl
          Re “At present over 85% of the national tax collection is in the NCR, and the provinces and regions, almost without exception, require massive subsidy from the NCR to survive. “That is an assertion which has been made already on Joe Am.. But unsourced and unverified. So I think you need to prove it.

          The evidence is against this assertion : tourism is negligible in Manila ( for obvious reasons ). Yet tourism is one of the countries biggest earners of foreign currency. Mining is centered in Mindanao & again is a major foreign exchange earner. I read yesterday that 40% of all food production is in Mindanao.

          I suspect that a lot of income tax is collected in Manila region because government & corporate jobs.. But if government is decentralised to states/regions, so will income tax collections…

            • bill in oz says:

              ‘Steve says’ assertion is just that.. Where is the evidence ? Why believe him ?

              I looked again at the map of poverty by regions also. Sorry that is measuring something different.. It is not measuring tax collection..
              VAT for example s 12% on nearly all recorded sales in the Philippines no matter where the sale takes place…. But large companies like SM record VAT as a tax deduction of their business based in Manila….So not accurate..

              • karlgarcia says:

                It is a maze so i would not bother trying getting inside.
                And when I quote some one,It is not a matter of fact,it is a matter of something to talk about.

                it says Steve says because I copied the whole comment..

                look at every comment like bill in oz says,etc,etc……

              • karlgarcia says:

                That was a map of IRA dependenc,not poverty.almost every place is color red,but that does not mean that almost every place is poor.

                IRA is internal revenue allotment.

              • bill in oz says:

                Customs revenue comes from taxing imports into the Philippines.. Mostly Manila as it has the major port and airport. But that does not tell us where those goods are being bought by Filipino consumers or companies… That info would be more accurate…as it’s the consumers/companies who are paying the customs duties

              • Joe America says:

                It seems to me the record-keeping will be daunting, for business officials. They have to identify and allocate their profits by federated states, and record what goods are sold where, and what taxes are derived from which states. If a boat offloads in Cebu, and some of the goods go back to Manila, that all has to be sorted out. I’m getting red tape claustrophobia already.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Even if we are centralized many places are iRA dependent.Left to their own devices,what would happen to the poor places, like the opinion and i did not say fact of Steve,and Dagimas,the Financial aspect of the Federalism proposal should be really studied.

                I showed you the IRA depency map because many places rely on revenue alotment even if they are resource and tourism rich like Palawan.I am not saying that to kill federalism or not to vote in it when the time for a plebiscite comes.

                we should be educated first.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Good points,but last on the subject of IRA.How it is allocated.Maybe the article is better than a colorful map.


            • bill in oz says:

              Re Internal Revenue Allocations by government
              I suggest that this has 2 aspects ; Need based & Bought service based
              Some aspects of government spending are needs based, like defence, police, reproductive Health, Education, roads etc
              But others are provided as a bought service, Philpost, Immigration visas, vehicle registrations etc For these there is a need to cover costs of operation at the very least.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Again good points,that is why there is a segment in the pro federalism supporters that suggests just to tweak the local government code and some provisions in the constitution without having to amend the entire charter.

          • Joe America says:

            Tourism: factor in the casinos in Manila. VAT collections in Manila must be huge, cars to malls. Corporate income tax, huge. Customs collections. I buy Karl’s 85% collection figure.

            • bill in oz says:

              All those taxation activities take place in Manila reflecting the centralisation of government activity in Manila.. One is a reflection of the other.. Change one & the reflection will also change..

              I still assert it makes more sense to measure tax where the economic activity takes place. NOT where the company HQ is based.. Eg Geothermal generation takes place in Biliran. But the company is HQ’d where ? In Manila ? And pays company tax there..
              And this realisation may in fact be part of Duterte’s push for a federal system

              • bill in oz says:

                PS Casino tourism is falling.. because of the China downturn & crack down on corruption.. But general tourism from Taiwan, South Korea & Europe & USA & Australia is rising.. Ummm

              • Joe America says:

                Good point on corporate. Nickel Asia is acquiring the project, and is based in Manila. But I suspect there are certain local permitting, property taxes or other fees collected locally. I think we need more data on the subject. You raise good counter-points.

              • edgar lores says:


                1. Federal taxes

                o Personal income tax
                o Capital gains tax
                o Corporate tax
                o Trustee liability tax
                o Goods and services tax (10%; distributed to the states)
                o Departure tax
                o Excise tax (on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol)
                o Customs duty
                o Fringe benefit tax
                o Superannuation tax

                2. State taxes

                o Property tax
                o Stamp duty
                o Payroll tax

                3. No inheritance tax


              • Joe America says:

                Both states and the national government assess income taxes in the US. Property taxes are local, funding schools and roads. States may get a cut of gas taxes, too, I’m not sure. But your national taxes are pretty much what the US assesses, as well, I believe.

              • bill in oz says:

                Good list Edgar, but you missed one state one : Vehicle registrations & driving licences. At $500 to $1200 a year for each vehicle it’s a big one.

                There were inheritance taxes until the 1970’s when Qld abolished it as a way of attracting older citizens to retire there & boost property sales. But it could e reintroduced

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Thanks, Bill, for catching the missing tax item.

                I might add another: pet duties. I remember having to pay something like $40 for our chihuahuas.

            • @Joe America, I’d also go with bill in oz on this one. As for another example, how about OFW remittances? This is one of the biggest drivers of growth in the country. However, I’m not exactly sure how the gains are collected and distributed. As for how I understand it, I think what happens is:

              1.) OFWs remit money to the Philippines via the banking system or other non-bank money transfer operators.

              2.) Banks or other money transfer operators get money by transaction fess and maybe also some other hidden fees.

              3) OFW agencies get money from banks or other money transfer operators.**

              4.) OFW families gets money through agency. No income tax collected.

              5.) OFW families uses money for various goods and services. Some taxes are now collected.

              So the question now is: How does government make money from OFWs if they don’t have income tax? Well, in addition #4 as OFW families are usually huge consumers, it is probably obvious that the government also gets tax revenue from the banks and other money transfer operators. So another question: Where would this remittance transactions be taxed? I’m not sure but it would probably go through somewhere in Metro Manila.

              **There are probably cases that there are no agencies that act as middle man between family and OFW. If ever that there are agencies, they are also probably taxed. Guess where most of them are based?

  30. andrewlim8 says:

    Just a to-do note for myself and anyone else interested to do this when the time is right:

    Monitor the Google searches in the Philippines for the words “federalism” and “parliamentary”
    once the constitutional convention is created, during its deliberations, right before the referendum and right after the referendum.

    Just curious about it specially after Brexit, when Google searches for “what is EU” and “Brexit” rose AFTER the referendum, indicating there was much ignorance and/or disinterest in it by the Brits themselves.

    Considering how immature our polity is, the percentage of Filipinos who are ignorant and/or disinterested in federalism could be huge but would vote one way just because someone said so.

    • Joe America says:

      Gadzooks, elections redux.

    • That is what I thought too when I read a Forbes’ article about supposedly ignorance of the British voting public about the true meaning of BREXIT and its possible consequences.

      The parallel you brought forward had been in my mind as well. Considering the fact that the recent election results made me a tad skeptical about Filipinos’ decisionmaking ability, I am hoping that the new administration will not implement anything without educating the population first.

      • edgar lores says:

        Tad? That’s very generous, Juana.

        The judgmental disability is huge… from the verdant fields and hills to the halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and all the way up to the Supreme Court bench.

        I would attribute this to four things: (a) the lack of principles; (b) the lack of criteria; (c) the lack of reasoning power; and (d) selfish or factional interest.

        • Joe America says:

          Care to write a blog on that? It does not have to be lengthy, just put the subject out there for the discussion it would generate. I find the topic fascinating. Of course, the operative questions is, what, practically speaking, could be done to overcome the problem?

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          I join Joe in asking you to please write a short article to encourage discussion of the 4 attributions. Isurat mo man. Dios ti agngina.

      • LG says:

        As of last night, per international news, in UK, about 3M signatures want a second refrendum on the BREXIT. Appears several voted Leave with out really knowing what they are voting for or against.

        Quite alike some, if not several of Duterte voters…. those Brexiters.

        On a positive note, today in Inquirer, there’s an Opinion article that the Chief Justice stands up to Duterte’s emergency powers on traffic. About time, she sounds off, begins to switch on the flashing yellow light. Beware, the judiciary will far outlast anyone within the executive branch…was hinted at the end of the article.
        (I don’t know how to paste the link here. I would have).

        • karlgarcia says:

          highlight everything on the address bar then copy the url then paste in the comment box

        • Bill in Oz says:

          I read that article.. I was interested for 2 reasons:
          1 It was written by Armando Doronilla from Canberra in Australia. Why I wondered ? Perhaps so a local journalist would not be ‘in the gun’ later ?
          2 In Oz it is NOT acceptable for any judge to enter the political arena by saying what s/he thinks of proposed legislation.. It violates the ‘separation of powers’ doctrine we have in our politics.. I thought it was also a part of the Philippines political system as well – inherited from the USA.

          As for opinion on TRO’s I think she is part of the problem.

          • Joe America says:

            Interesting. I agree that TRO’s are a huge part of the problem in the delays of many activities, and insert the SC into the management of things, with no direct accountability for outcomes. That is, the SC judges are not elected by the people. But I found assurance to her statement, as she was signaling to the Executive Branch that there are laws and an independent Judiciary. The Legislature appears to have rolled over to PE Duterte, but not the SC Chief Justice.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              So Duerte’s appointing of 10 SC’s over the next 6 years may solve the problem !!!!

              I think there is an awfull lot of contempt of the justice system here in Philippines.. SC behaviour is a major cause.

              • karlgarcia says:

                On another note since they are also a bunch of lawyers.

                The COMELEC commisioners will no longer support their chairman.They are giving him a hard time.

              • LG says:

                Not SC justices, in general, but appellate and regional court judges, who are alleged to be mostly for sale.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, true, but the problem is that the SC has been a political animal in the past. I’m not foreseeing a change from that forthcoming.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              She better pick her battle sites carefully..Not on Manila traffic or TRO’s On these issues she is fighting a for lost causes. The SC has been part of the problem.. So why should Manilenos who voted for Duterte 60%, pay her any heed ?

              • Joe America says:

                Because if someone files a case against the proposed law, the SC is obligated under law to consider it. The court is not initiating any acts, but responding to those initiated by citizens.

              • LG says:

                Me think so, too. SC is being proactive n pragmatic.

                I believe it’s a wise move by Sereno. I’ve been waiting for her to butt in, before the beholden Congress and Senate gets carried away granting Emergency Powers left n right., to their regret (only) later…as it is the SC who ends up cleaning their mess.

                Am tired reading about TROs and bails and deferred hearings, and all other kinds of delays available to indicted criminals.

              • Joe America says:

                Related, Ombudsman Morales has once again criticized the SC for undermining the Ombudsman with its rulings. I don’t know how the SC, which is so whiny sometimes in demanding independence, can’t seem to find the same gracious bearing with respect to other agencies of government.

              • LG, says:

                Ah, yes, you are so right. I forgot about her, the Ombydsman. My reason: Seems most cases, where the plaintiff or defendant stand a chance of winning big, wether worthy or otherwise, end up with the SC. Often, the SC appears to be most powerful of all the branches of our government.

                I whisper…(Am personally beholden to CMC than I am to LS; I like the legal perspective of the former better). .

                I don’t get the disparity of judgments between and among the SC, Ombudsman and Sandigang Bayan.

                Are all three required in the constitution to be had in a unitary democracy?


                Do other countries with a unitary form of govt., like ours, have the same set up?

              • Joe America says:

                Good questions. I don’t know why they disagree so. I think because there is no legal latitude for agencies to interpret the law. The SC holds that to itself. Thus, the COMELEC (also) and Ombudsman are undermined when they interpret the laws that apply to them, along with Executive and the Legislature, from time to time. I’m inclined not to look at other governments, but to establish the principles where by ours works well. I believe the Constitution bestows judicial rights upon the independent agencies, and the SC ought to intrude only on an exceptional basis, not as standard practice.

          • LG says:

            Thanks Karl for sharing the link. I can only do that with cue, if sharing links in FB and emails.

            With no cue, how do u share links in the blog site?

            • karlgarcia says:

              highlight everything on the address bar then copy the url then paste in the comment box

              • LG says:


                Will try. In desktop, easy to do, but with iPad or Mac Air, not so, I think.

              • karlgarcia says:

                point your finger at the address bar press till the word copy appears,click
                then paste it to the comment box…you can do it.

                you have not told me how to remove the square on the thumbs up.
                maybe its a hardware thing on my ipad.

              • LG says:

                A square also appeared after my thumbs up emoji. See if it happens again.👍. Here, no square, but wait till I post.

              • karlgarcia says:

                No square,so it is a hardware thing on my end.

              • LG says:

                To me, the square has appeared once. Joe seems to think, it might be a WordPress thing with emojis.

                I love playing with emojis, don’t you?

              • karlgarcia says:


    • josephivo says:

      Elections today are about entertainment, not politics.

      However the outcome is political. So the issue side enters after the politicians are elected in deal makings in closed rooms. People correctly feel this lack of democracy.

      Current democratic processes were developed more than 200 years ago in an area of only print and personal contacts. Since then we introduced radio, TV, Internet, marketing, poling, AI around the corner with Google and Facebook knowing you better than whoever…

      Private companies have much better processes to test markets for needs, to develop ideas in to saleable products, to market products, to measure feedback, to adjust.

      As I said before, we have to revisit some of our democratic processes, the current ones are undemocratic.

      • bill in oz says:

        Where undemocratic ? Your statement is too all encompassing, & thus too vague.

        As for FB & twitter.. I avoid completely.. they are not worth it.. They are like trying to get a cup of water under Niagara…

        • josephivo says:


          Bias for money (in some cases absolute)
          Bias for media exposure, celebrities
          Bias for lobbying powers
          Ease of populism and demagogy
          Strength of dynasties

          Distance between “political” issues of the far away politicians and the real needs of their constituents. Class D and E are still the overwhelming part of the population as 70 years ago. 70 years of elections and politics didn’t result in one peso extra, did not create any improvement opportunity. .

          • bill in oz says:

            Ahhhh so you mean the Philippines..OK..

            But you are based in Belgium and sometimes comment from that perspective or a European perspective.. So I was confused by your comment

            • josephivo says:

              See very little difference with Belgium.

              • edgar lores says:

                “Belgium is a beautiful city.” — Donald Trump

              • josephivo says:

                I’m based in the Philippines since 2004… born in Belgium, left for the world in 1970… but the little boy inside my brain is still very Belgian and a little Dutch too as my mother and half my family is/was Dutch.

          • Joe America says:

            The democratic institutions are working, but the democratic ideal is not, that voting would be done on and informed and intelligent basis.

            • josephivo says:

              Institutions are only part of the whole democratic “process”, what about elections, politicians, information and feedback channels, agenda setting…

              A good car needs good maintenance, a good driver and most importantly a inspiring destination

              • Joe America says:

                It seems to me that Philippine elections are gaining in integrity and precision, politicians are the same as anywhere, except ours are entitled and corrupt, information is wild and woolly and free but the people don’t really want data, and Executive at least has, the past six years, done a good job setting an agenda. I am coming to the conclusion that Federalism is a pig’s ear, and will try to state why in a blog article. The current government, although not a silk purse by any stretch of imagination, is at least leatherette.

              • @Joe America, if federalism is a pig’s ear, would it be possible to make it into sisig given the Filipino’s “ingenuity”? haha

                But on a serious note, I’m also starting to think that federalism will be too much for the country if implemented right off the bat. I think andrewlim8 put it into words best:

                [If we just throw more money into Mindanao and give more power to them, but the Ampatuans and Mangundadatus maintain their hold, we will just see them transform into even bigger monsters.

                Instead of private armies with guns, you will see them have rocket launchers, technicals even armored vehicles of their own.]

                But then again, these people won’t get money because they have to make it themselves anymore? If they can’t, they’ll have to ask for it and they would have to make agreements so they could actually be controlled? Not sure. And as for a good case study Mr. Joe, might I suggest researching about Somalia which is also currently going into transition to a federal form of government?

                [ Since 2004, the country has moved toward a federal system, not because it is inherently better, Mohamed said, but because, “Somali people don’t trust each other.”

                “Resource-sharing, power¬-sharing, political representation – all have been abused by certain people in the higher ranks of the government. Welfare services have never been delivered. Local constituents never received their share of national resources. So federalism was proposed a way forward in Somali politics,” he said.

                Abdi Aynte, director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS), agreed that Somalia has come to see federalism as a viable solution to restoring peace. “Due to the prolonged civil war and the resulting trust deficit, Somalis are yearning for local control of their politics. Decentralization, or any other form of federalism, is the answer to their quest,” he told IRIN by email.

                “Federalism will disperse power among the states, and will thus reduce the concentration of power on central hands. It is the best form administration we can implement today in Somalia,” Mohamed Nurani Bakar, a member of parliament, told IRIN. The “unitary system of governance has brought us a lot of problems that are still with us today,” he said.
                Most people in Somalia, however, recognize that there has to be some form of power-sharing, and that is best done through a form of federalism. But Farah warned, “Without a strong commitment from the federal government, federalism will not flourish in Somalia.”]

                Another link is: https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20140613SupportingFederalFutureSomalia.pdf

                Lastly, what about the shift into a parliamentary form of government? Personally, I can’t still see anything wrong with it as it could probably give some much needed accountability with regards to our government officials. But do correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll be looking forward to that article. =D

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t think a parliamentary form of government will be considered. The main goal is to apportion power to the regions. For me, I’d have to see the wealth allocation mechanisms, in the case where one state is rich and another poor. How do the poor people in a poor state get enriched, or elevated, or included. Now, the national government does that. But what state will be willing to see its wealth go to another state? Federalism may be granting the states with lots of resources power, but it is not helping poor states, I think.

              • @Joe America, with regards to wealth sharing between rich and poor states, Binay’s Makati sister cities come to mind? Hmm… Maybe JICA is actually a better example? Somewhat something like development assistance but instead of on an international scale, it’ll be in a local scale between cities or regions. States making agreements between each other so that they will lend/share money in exchange for, say, some project partnerships or maybe even changes and reforms in attitude and work ethics and whatnot? To sum it up: Quid quo pro? And it seems that they will have no choice but to cooperate because it’ll be sink or swim. No-choice Bayanihan if I may call it something.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Intuitive perceiving,
                Re: makati ‘s sister cities.

                Will adopting cities really benefit the sister city or will there be too much quid quo pro,among the local executives?

                Just like the PDAF another good intention that paved the road to perdition.

              • @karlgarcia, well, it is prone to abuse. However, any system is prone to abuse if we let it. Isn’t that just a matter of checks and balances? Because if I were to break down my view on these kinds of partnerships, PDAF and Makati sister cities were supposed to be some sort of partnerships which aims to give local governments more opportunities to help themselves, right?

                For Makati sister cities, well, it did supposedly give the opportunities while also giving some freedom to the local governments. However, it was unregulated so it seems to have been no different than back alley negotiations and not to mention that it seems to have been paved with bad intentions right from the start. And also, the national government seems to have not done anything about it until they saw it as a threat.

                For PDAF, well, it also did give the opportunities. However, only up to a point. The problem with this one is the national government controlled it too much where it seems to have reached a point that the local government was at the mercy of the national government. And also, there seems to have been no proper verification of progress for where the budget was actually used and how much was actually used. Since the national government handles the funds, the local government usually uses them as scapegoats for their failures.

                Personally, given the above, I think the best way would be to give local government their own freedom, something like with Makati sister cities, but the central government will verify the feasibility and legality of the partnership before they start. And maybe also check on the progress of the concerned parties every now and then. Of course, the concerned parties should also check the progress of each other as it is actually their agreement. With this, we distribute the responsibility between local and national while also giving both of them specified accountability for their actions.

                Well. Ideally. -_-

              • karlgarcia says:

                spot on on ideally,
                on paper we have the most check and balances, balancing checks is the reality.

              • Agree. We do seem to have many checks and balances and we really do have problems with implementing it. However, would it be right to say that one can have too many checks and balances? Because there does seem to come a point that it seems to become redundant, inefficient, inconvenient, and impractical, therefore it is just bypassed by then? But I think it is just a matter of distribution of responsibilities and streamlining. And with the PH, I think this is the case because other than the redundancy, the national government seems to be almost doing everything that it is almost over-encumbered. This is also to the dismay of the local officials because they feel that they can’t get things done so they do away with responsibilities and accountability.

                I think a re-clarification of responsibilities is in order when it comes to the different sectors government. But I’m probably only stating the obvious…

              • Joe America says:

                Localities have powers already, but leaders don’t apply themselves. Land use, storm preparations come to mind. Also, they are forgiving on property taxes because the people who own big properties fund their campaigns, and they like getting re-elected. More decentralization, more opportunity for abuse, negligence, because the good governance agenda represented by Jesse Robredo has not been broadly seated.

          • LG says:

            The Ds n Es are increasing every year, unlikely to decrease in number, even later. Unless Duterte really puts a Flashing Yellow Light to population growth, his biggest challenge, says me, whatever economic gains he musters within 6 years, like Pres, Aquino, will be under appreciated, in this light.

            More than the traffic in MM, more critical, is the rise of the D n E as a super electorate power for the executive and legislative branches of our government from the barangay to the presidency. It’s them, not the ABCs who names our elected officials every 3 or 6 years. It’s a struggle to believe that, in my lifetime, I will see the Philipoines get pass the title, Asia’s Rising Tiger to The Philippines Had Risen to a Developed Nation. Only because the BCs are unlikely to surpass the DEs number in the foreseeable years.

            Forgive my pessimistic streak:(.

            It took a decade, I understand, for the RH law to pass. But…just because such law is there now, and family planning (FP) methods are generally available for free, if the Ds n Es are not educated about FP, to the level they understand and the RH implementers won’t seek education by the Ds n Es on their struggles with FP, babies from poor families, are likely to grow up under educated, at risk for developing hard to treat Judgmental Disability.

            • josephivo says:

              You are very optimistic. A billion is stricken from the RH budget and there are two TRO’s, one for implants (targeted for teenage mothers) and one for licensing or renewal licenses for all anticonception products, stocks are running low and soon nothing left, unless you can fly to Hong Kong to get your condoms or pills or whatever. (this morning on Karen Davilla with Sec, of Health Janette Loreto-Garin.)

              • LG says:

                You are right, Josephivo, about the much slashed funding of the RH law.

                I believe Joe had written a blog about that….about Women of Power (Loren and Pia, as examples) Oppressing Women of No Power (poor child-bearing women)*. If I recall the post correctly.

                Nevertheless, I have met some poor women, who says that they don’t want to get pregnant anymore. But find family planning a struggle, cited reasons, I’ve heard:

                spouse or we want more children (“masaya ang maraming anak”);

                pills and the monthly injectable make her sick;

                irregular menses (one said did not have menses for 2 years while breastfeeding);

                afraid of vasectomy (husband);

                tubal ligation, ok, but “costly” if not done right after childbirth;

                no time for tubal ligation “now”;

                Not aware of other contraceptive ways but ‘withdrawal’ or abstinence;

                family planning, what is that?; and

                why do family planning?

                May be Duterte’s Rule to Stop at 3 is for them.

                * I should copy and paste this past Joe’s blog here, but am afraid to leave this page, look for it, copy and hopefully return to this page to paste it. Using Mac Air.

              • Joe America says:

                Mac airhead . . . heh heh. I just got an Ipad, and agree it is clunky when it comes to things like copy/paste of web addresses.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Is the flashing yellow light,like the wildfire in the Game of Thrones.
              Cersei Lanister killed the poor(and some rich) to eliminate poverty and reduce the population.

              Re:implants,seems like outgoing health secretary is changing her stance,she now says it is dangerous.If I understood her correctly.

              The thing you say LG (was that you?) About ayaw ni mister ng contraceptive kaya ayoko din.How can you teach RH to them?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Cersei Baratheon(nee Lannister)burned the church people too.

              • LG says:

                Tough call. Unless the RH or Family Planning (FP) teaching program is data based, will not fly, even then, it might not still fly. Poor culture congruence n sensitivity it should be, as it’s commonly the poor families that do report of more children.

                Now, what is the professional, say anthropological, literature on culture of the poor, middle class, and wealthy?

                Religion-based not likely to fly either. Have not heard of family no planning because “family planning is against my religion”.

                Anecdotally, I have met folks who deliberately chose to have much fewer offsprings than what they have as siblings (“I would not go through what my parents had to go through to take care of us 11 children”)

                But the reverse, also true…only to three borns choose to have more kids, especially if there is only one boy in them, to guarantee the life of the family name Those who grew up in bigger families want to see their size even bigger.

                One on one teaching, the chikahan way, might do better, as the opportunity arises. Nothing formal, unintimidating way, sort of incidental teaching, may be more culturally congruent to Filipinos, regardless of SES. Requires a lot of sensitivity and good timing in the RH teacher. Likely costly for the government to implement in such way.

                Another way to consider. At child birth, the topic of FP with mother n father is an opportune time to be carried out by the attending MD or RN as part of a public hospital program on RH implementation as required by law. A designated RH implementer, not a hospital staff member, can do the FP visit.

                The local Soroptimist International (SI, you must be aware of this international org for women whose mission is women empowerment) Chapter here, once held a meeting on Family Planning at their adopted barangay. Few attended and the few did not finish the meeting. Local SI Evaluation: if not giving freebies, parties or doing a feeding program, forget it.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I learn a lot from you LG,keep it coming.

              • LG says:

                Quid pro quo 😉. You, as one of them 👍.

            • LG says:

              But this is not to say Judgmental Disability (JD) does not afflict the ABC classes. In fact, perhaps in more ways than one; JD is expressed differently among the classes, in some the same.

              The dynamic interplay among education, values orientation, genetic heritage, exposure, resources, etc. or the lack there of, perhaps bring about JD.

              Thank you Edgar Lores for coining the JD concept. It’s a spinner.

        • josephivo says:

          Undemocratic? Part 2

          Many political decisions are taken outside the control rooms of the state without any democratic input/control:

          Global markets
          Financial decisions on ratings, exchange rates, interest rates… set/manipulated by few institutions
          World Bank, IMF “advises”
          Boardrooms of Facebook, Apple… Cargill, Monsanto,…JPMorgan, HSBC,…
          Research labs of large corporations, universities…
          Other less democratic countries as China, Russia…
          The Murdochs of this world
          Terrorist organizations, failed states, religious leaders….

  31. madlanglupa says:

    Meanwhile, Mar takes aim at federalism, asking who would pay for this transformation.



    Commenting publicly on federalism for the first time since the May 9 elections, Roxas said while he did not want to start a debate over the pros and cons of federalism, he believed it was not the cure for the lack of development of provinces that was being blamed on a centralized government.

    Federalism was one of the anchors of the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Roxas cited the case of the United States, where a federal form of government had led to two layers of taxes—state and federal.

    “How is it going to balance out?” Roxas said.

    “They say it (federalism) will cut taxes. They say many things about reducing expenses but they are going to create a whole new bureaucracy in the federal system. Who’s going to pay for that?” he said.

    “You can’t say one thing here and not have an effect on the other side,” he added.

    • josephivo says:

      Effectiveness and efficiency. Doing the right things and doing the things right. Often effectiveness comes before efficiency, doubling effectiveness having more effect than doubling efficiency. Or in more extreme cases working more efficient in the wrong direction is worse than doing nothing at all.

      Our society has a layered structure. Each layer has its own strength and weaknesses. For many problems/opportunities the local level knows better, can be more effective but often the central level has more administrative knowledge, can be more efficient. Sometimes intermediate levels have the best balance.

      Federalism should not be a “political” battle cry but a well-reasoned search for optimum government. What should be decided locally, on intermediate levels, nationally? What should be organized locally, intermediately and nationally? This should be the discussion, not what names to call it, decentralization, devolution, federalism…

      P.S. In Belgium part of local and intermediate income comes from surtaxes on the income tax. Local surtaxes vary from 0% to 10% with an average of 8%.

      • madlanglupa says:

        > Effectiveness and efficiency.

        Which is why I strongly prefer meritocracy (over the informal spoils system as practiced currently) — people who are technically qualified and deserving of public service and should be paid competitively.

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