Federalism: Open Discussion

[Graphic source: CNN]

By JoeAm

Reader Jose Guevarra poses some excellent questions. Rather than write an article, I will post his comment as a lead-in to open discussion about the subject:

I think it’s time to talk about this again, now that there is actually a draft charter with Congress. Like it or not, we have to think about this. I am hoping someone can talk about federalism in other countries first. What worked? What didn’t? Why? Can we use these as models for the Philippine context? If so, which elements? How do we adapt these? If not, why?

What’s the best way to put it into place, if we actually decide to go with federalism? Time, money, other resources required?

How do we make sure we’re protected from vested interests of politicians dictating how federalism will occur?

The current draft: why is it generally bad? Are there elements of it that actually good?

In the end: in spite of ourselves, why would we go with federalism? Or why not?


82 Responses to “Federalism: Open Discussion”
  1. madlanglupa says:

    The great problem with federalism is not only giving too much power to politicians (as if the LGU law wasn’t enough) from barangay up to the congressional/parliamentary level, but also introducing a new rafter of complexities that would be of a burden to a populace already badly-educated (financial literacy is one of several many Filipinos lack of) and sick of being inconvenienced: state-level legislature, additional taxes and laws (as if provincial ordinances weren’t enough), jurisdiction conflicts, etc.

    Federalism assumes that the populace has been properly educated and/or highly-intelligent enough to encourage self-improvement, collective responsibility, selflessness, egalitarianism, and realizing an important role in nation-building, but we still haven’t reached that point. Which means federalism is highly incompatible.

    Many from the Visayas and strongly in Mindanao insist on federalism, but embraced this belief if only because they’re convinced it would make them more autonomous, it would give them a stronger regional identity based on lingual and cultural lines (i.e. the words “po” and “opo” are unknown in those regions), it would allow them to better police their own ranks (state police), and most mistakenly of all, make them more secure and prosperous than they would with the current system of government and Constitution we have right now.

    • Jose Guevarra says:

      One might argue that the Americans also didn’t quite know what they were getting themselves into when they created the first federal system in the world. They had no models to copy from or even adapt. All we can say is that they were sick and tired of being dictated upon by a monarch separated from them by an ocean and who knew nothing about what exactly was happening in the different states. Yet, federal they went. And now, they are arguably the most powerful nation on the planet.

      Still, many of the 50 states whine about the size of the government in DC and how it keeps trying to meddle with the states’ affairs. Same-sex marriage, abortion, gun control, voting rights, and drugs, among many others, are issues that go back and forth between the states and the federal government. Some would argue it is precisely this constant tug-of-war between the states and the feds that precisely makes America the great country it (generally) is today. Others would say the US is getting dangerously close to a civil war of sorts again (not necessarily one with guns). So maybe the US didn’t quite get what it wanted after all from having a federal system?

      I have my own ideas, fears, and what not. But I want to really see what others think: Can the Philippines not learn from the US example and go federal as well?

      • Francis says:

        @Jose Guevarra

        “Same-sex marriage, abortion, gun control, voting rights, and drugs, among many others, are issues that go back and forth between the states and the federal government. Some would argue it is precisely this constant tug-of-war between the states and the feds that precisely makes America the great country it (generally) is today.”

        I think this is the silver lining of federalism in the Philippines. In theory—it should open up another avenue of reform: state-led (region-led) reform. In America—same-sex marriage and other issues for reform gained organic, solid momentum as change was being codified and spread at the state level, which the federal government couldn’t overturn regardless of which party was in power on a federal level; in constrast, the unitary government of the PH—if I’m not mistaken—means that most reformists direct their efforts to appealing to Malacañang or working with Congress on a national level to accomplish reform in a top-bottom manner.

        Yes—we do have local governments initiating their reforms, bottom-up—but I think that “federal state decides to pursue reforms” sounds sexier to people’s ears than “mere region decides to pursue reforms” and that federalism might give a lot more visibility towards bottom-up reform efforts, particularly at the provincial level.

        I can easily see—assuming that federalism doesn’t lead to the balkanization of the Philippines—a possible strategic opening for reformists in the new federal landscape; a chance to build and experiment genuine reformist politics, genuine grassroots politics in the regions…

      • Francis says:

        The US is different though.

        The Thirteen Colonies each had their own governments—they were used to running things by themselves, to a certain extent.

        The federalism in the case of the US was meant to bind together these states in closer union.

        Our federalism aims to loosen those bonds binding our various ethnic groups and provinces together—whether that is necessary and a net benefit to us, is something that is not clear.

        • Jose Guevarra says:

          Federalism under the US context was meant to bind together the states while grabbing control from a monarch thousands of miles away. Federalism under the Philippine context (it seems to me anyway) only aims to loosen Imperial Manila’s grip on the rest of the country. Isn’t that an easier goal to achieve than what the US did, so maybe federalism would work even more quickly for us?

      • isk says:

        @ Jose Guevarra
        Can the Philippines not learn from the US example and go federal as well?”
        If truly the objective is the empowerment of the citizens, among others that needs to be looked up to is the judicial system/process in the US, the jury system.

        Having lots supreme courts means no Supreme Court.

        No, federalism is not for Pfilippines.

  2. I look at the federalism proposal as a negotiation between the People and President Duterte. In the contracts I’ve negotiated, both parties want something from the deal, but there are usually sticking points or even deal killers that make the contract difficult or impossible to complete.

    If I took the part of the People on federalism, I’d say, okay, it is good to have more localized control of our destiny and the power to establish our own development priorities and financial capacities. What are the problems I see in the current draft and process?

    1) I don’t trust my negotiation adversary, with whom I am asked to join interests. He has made decisions that I think are bad for the People (State killings, propaganda, and concessions to China, among others). This is a deal killer. How can President Duterte convince me to trust him especially when he seems to want to jam the deal down we the People’s throat? It’s on him to prove trustworthy. I’m fine with the current constitution, versus giving the nation to someone I don’t trust.

    2) President Duterte as the head of the transition commission is a deal killer if it stays in, for the reasons cited in 1). That can be changed. Put the Senate or an independent Commission, approved by the Senate with a 2/3 vote, in charge of transition.

    3) The administrative bureaucracy supporting the states is huge, but probably unavoidable. Courts and legislatures in every state, I believe. I would want to know the cost of this in precise terms before being able to compare the pros/cons of local control vs financial burden. It might be better to spend the money on transportation if it is onerous.

    4) Removing the AFP as the ‘protector of the people’ is not satisfactory, again because of 1). We need a neutral, honorable, defender of the people who puts nation and the constitution above political and personal interests. Easy to fix. Just a few words will do it.

    5) No anti-dynasty provision. Deal killer. It is on the President to restrict and restrain powerful families.

    5) Economists have issued warning flags. Address them explicitly. Quantify them. Otherwise, the risk is too great. Deal killer.

    I would defer commentary on other matters until my negotiation adversary showed good faith in addressing these items.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Jose Guevarra says:
    July 19, 2018 at 11:15 am
    Population and geography, to me, seem to be the best way to divide into states. It gives every state roughly equal footing to begin with. This is the part of the US model that I don’t agree with. Just because the US states already existed before the country did does not mean that states of unequal populations should have equal representation in the Senate. And in the Pihilippine context, the regions we now have have no political bearing anyway; there is no need to keep them the way they are. With this in mind, NCR would be its own state with 12 million people. Following the same principle with the rest of the country (minus ARMM) creates maybe 8 others. Palawan may have to go with maybe Western Visayas. I honestly don’t know how to deal with ARMM (or Bangsamoro, if this one gets ratified); maybe its own state. So I see 10 states total.


    I like your prposal better.

    They proposed 18 federalized region.
    Meaning the current regions plus Negros.

    What if others want to balkanize and/ or gerrymander for any reason
    that would mean more region and congressional districts.

    On the revenue sharing. I think The IMF/WB is against this for some readon.

    They propose senators from the regions and 40 persent lower house members voted nationally. Odd.

  4. chemrock says:

    “In the end: in spite of ourselves, why would we go with federalism? Or why not?”

    Honestly if I sit down and think for 30 minutes, I can easily come up with 100 areas where the government, both present and all past, have come up short in the provision of public goods and services to alleviate the livelihood of the people. In simple terms, the country has its hands full of shitty problems, it’s a wrong time and place to talk of federalism. It is a great detraction from the challenges of managing a difficult country. It’s nothing to do with unitary or federal, it’s about a people getting it’s act together.

    The most obvious thing about this desire for federalism is the glaring absence of regional desires to pull away from the centre. With the exception of the Mindanoans, or rather, a handful of southerners. It is not a path driven by the desires of the masses, but by some dynastic politicians and southerners. Silly.

  5. edgar lores says:

    Federalism? No, just no.

    It’s a question of trust.

    Read Christian Monsod’s speech.

    • Here is Philip Lustre’s excerpts from Monsod, and an Akbayan rep’s objection:

      Philip Jr Lustre
      Yesterday at 3:44 PM ·
      NO REPLY. When Christian Monsod, a former Comelec chairman and member of the 50-man commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, read his paper at the Senate public hearing at least two members of the 22-man commission that drafted the proposed “Digong Constitution,” could not provide any rebuttal. They were obviously uinprepared, or shell-shocked too. Mr. Monsod’s discussions on the political and economic dimensions of the proposed shift to the federal system were profound, clearing showing the vast expanse of his experience and wisdom. A concom member, a reputedly notoriously political analyst, although I prefer to call him “anal,” could not refute any single point in Mr. Monsods paper. Biglang tumahimik kahit na sobrang daldal kapag iniinterbiyu ng radyo.

      There are several points in Mr. Monsod’s papers:

      1. Amending the 1987 Constitution is not right at this time. The Phl economy has been improving under the 1987 Constitution. Instead of amending the Constitution, it would be better for the current government to initiate moves to ensure the distribution of the economic gains to the poor and downtrodden. After all, the key themes of the 1987 Constitution are social justice and human rights, according to Mr. Monsod.

      2. Changing the current unitary setup to a federal system under a president who is not reputed for good governance does not make sense. He is “dangerous with power,” Mr. Monsod said. Moreover, the proposed changes, as contained in the transitory provisions could lead to a return to authoritarianism.

      3. While the Marcos dictatorship succeeded in creating a “culture of corruption,” the incumbent president is cultivating what he described a “culture of violence. ”

      4. The Filipino people should be wary of the proposed shift to federal system because the transitory provisions provides it would be “indissoluble.” Wala ng balikan sa unitary government. It would be a permanent setup.

      5. With the weakening of the constitutional principle of checks and balance and softening of democatic institutions like the Supreme Court, CHR, etc., we could see a looming dictatorship by the incumbent president.

      6. The concom that drafted the proposed federal shift has hardly provided a road map to make it acceptable for our people.

      Incidentally, Akbayan Party List Rep. Tom Villarin has warned the Filipino people of the unacceptable provisions of the “Digong Constitution”:

      1. Open the Phl economy to foreign ownership by delegating nationalization requirements to Congress;

      2. Restrict representation of the marginalized by requiring college degrees for party list representatives, aside from district reps, senators, president, and vice president.

      3. Imposes a haphazard federal set up with vague and strange provisions and an equalization fund subject to political patronage.

      4. Entrenches judicial authoritarianism by transferring power to decide impeachment cases to the Judiciary and making the Judiciary an integral part of the Legislative processes.

      5. Institutionalizes a Duterte dictatorship by expanding emergency powers, limiting basic rights, allowing Duterte to run as transition president to head the Transition Commission, which will exercise legislative, executive, and judicial powers and canceling teh 2019 midterm elections.

      Excerpts of Mr. Monsod’s paper: “I would venture to say that we should be very careful about a sweeping overhaul of our constitutional system with a president who has proven to be dangerous with power, especially if the transition also extends the terms of incumbent politicians and an otherwise banned president is allowed to run for re-election under the new Constitution.. And also because the Puno constitution bans any future revision or amendment of it’s “federal setup” which is declared “indissoluble” and “permanent” and at par with the words “democratic” and “representative”. In other words, we will be stuck forever with federalism if we adopt it with all its uncertainties and the risk of unintended.”

  6. Micha says:

    The serpentine call to federalize is very much akin to a young adult’s desire to be left alone, become independent, and ultimately found his/her own family. Except that a country is not made up of separated young adults doing their own thing.

    In a weak republic such as ours, there’s only a thin line for the would be federated regions between autonomy and full separation, especially if the promised prosperity will not materialize.

    With the devolution of much of the central government’s powers, there exist a greater possibility that it won’t be able to hold the country together.

    Proponents of federalism claim, without clear evidence, that it will led to greater regional prosperity. How exactly will that happen they’re not saying. It’s a hit and miss projection.

    And when the entire project is being led by someone who’s full of hubris and hot air, there’s every reason to doubt the hit.


    NO to federalism. NO to charter change.

    • Jose Guevarra says:

      Going to continue playing devil’s advocate here.

      The US was a very weak federal republic when it started. It was especially weak not only because the 13 colonies-turned-states were so wary of giving control to a central government so soon after they took it away from a monarch, but also because the federal government was trying to fight its fight both domestically (keeping the states together) and internationally (fending off persistent forces loyal to the British, and being recognized as a country by others like the French, who were Grand Britain’s fiercest rivals then).

      So weak was the US that it went through an actual civil war. Yet, it is where it is today: a great country, if not the greatest.

      Why can’t you see this happening to the Philippines as well?

      • Micha says:

        The greatness of America lies in its core values and ideals of freedom and democracy, not the form of its government.

        Federalism is just incidental to its greatness.

        Was the central government weak at its inception? Not necessarily, they have giants as founding fathers. All too human perhaps but for the most part stayed true to their conviction of freedom, equality and democracy. And they created the governing institutions that proved capable of meeting the challenges and problems along the way.

        Contrast that to what we have here now in the Philippines. Digong says he is the father of this country.


        Be afraid.

        Be very afraid.

        • chemrock says:

          As the French say it — D’accord.

        • caliphman says:

          To those who experienced the Marcos dictatorship or were swayed in electing Duterte: Fooled once, shame on him. To be fooled twice, shame on you.

        • Jose Guevarra says:

          Ok, this I can very readily agree with. We did not and do not have founding fathers to speak of. I am mentally going through our list of heroes; I am not quite sure they knew what they really wanted, much less truly agreed with each other, back then.

      • Why play devil’s advocate? Just be honest. The goal here is not to win debates, but to explore and learn.

        • Jose Guevarra says:

          I really don’t want federalism as well, but I feel I don’t completely understand why. I am wondering if there is a best set of concessions the other side might offer to get people like me to agree to federalism (a fantasy deal, so to speak); and then finally be able to say “No” to federalism because when I get back to reality, I know that whatever is in the fatasy deal won’t take really happen.

  7. Jose Guevarra says:

    Okay. I am seeing a common theme of trust (or lack thereof) here. So I am going to put forward an idea that crossed my mind.

    What if instead of ramming federalism down people’s throats and postponing elections in 2019, proponents actually spend time educating people on what it is? Duterte and his minions have already sort of planted the seeds among the people anyway, what with his consultative committee crap; so let’s see first how people take federalism. Let them educate themselves a bit; heck, spend money the next two years actually educating people on what federalism is and how it can work, even as a better federalism-based charter is being drafted. BUT we get to keep elections for 2019; this is going to be one price Duterte pays for all the federalism crap he wants. Still, he gets people talking about it and he has time to get it designed so that maybe it suits the Philippines better.

    Then in 2022, we have elections (still under the 1987 charter) simultaneously with a plebiscite to ratify what would then be the proposed 2022 charter that spells out federalism (we can deal with what’s spelled out here later; I just want to deal with the trust issue now). It is just one more box to shade on the ballot. The results of the plebiscite can be canvassed simultaneously with those of the votes for various offices. So it’s still a usual election plus that one question. The easy part here is if the proposed charter is rejected, we simply go back to where we are now. The President and VP operate under what would still be the 1987 charter. Same with Congress. And we get the federalism question answered at very minimal extra cost.

    Now the trickiest part. If the 2022 proposal actually gets ratified, we go into transition mode. The elected President and VP would be the last ones under the 1987 charter and they would specifically be tasked with setting things up for the first President and VP of the federal republic, who we won’t elect until 2028.

    So we could give Duterte what he wants, but he won’t get to actually see it till he is 83 (assuming he is still around then). Many of the key designers of the 2022 charter (namely, today’s Congress) would also be either 10 years older or dead. But with a time buffer, maybe it buys them our trust?

      • karlgarcia says:

        So far even a first grader would undestand this. But it is so basic, people would ask more questions.
        i noticed that the initial plan was federal-parliamentary.

        Click to access dilg-reports-resources-2017323_186ace8e39.pdf

        • Jose Guevarra says:

          Which is why I want a time buffer. There are so many questions to be answered yet they want people to only have now until May 2019 to consider things. I also see in the flier that they failed to mention federal countries that have not progressed as much like Mexico and Brazil (can someone try to explain these two countries’ scenarios?). It is not a true pro-and-con document. A transparent information drive should talk about both what we could gain and what we stand to lose in going federal. Absent the disadvantages, the flier is mere propaganda.

          With regards to a parliament, I am pretty sure Filipinos would not go for losing their say in electing their head of state. Are the proponents going for a French parliament then with a president as head of state and a Prime Minister as head of government coupled with a federal system? The British system sort of looks like this with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each having their own First Ministers (although England doesn’t) while the Queen serves as head of state (though she isn’t elected, of course).

      • Micha says:

        So far, what Densing’s DILG could offer as rationale for federalism is that it will do away with the inequitable distribution of IRA.

        Which is rather silly because the practice of connecting IRA with party affiliation can easily be remedied by legislation mandating the equal and compulsory allocation of revenues to all regions disregarding political loyalties.

        Why go through the whole costly rigmarole just to rectify an easily corrigible problem?

        And of course there’s reason why they’d rather go to barangays instead of the big crowds in cities or municipalities. Barangay folks can easily be intimidated to buy the federalists’ propaganda.

    • You need to demonstrate a need. Plus, why do we care what Duterte wants in 2022? He is just one of 110 million citizens at that point. The most striking of the Monsod points to me was that the Philippines was making good progress under unity government. Reconfiguring government throws a wrench into that progress.

      • Jose Guevarra says:

        True. Duterte is only one of 110 million, but he is also one of many (mainly southerners) who have expressed dissatisfaction with perceived control by Imperial Manila. He is their (false) hero on this crusade.

        I am going to take your silence on time being used as a means to earn trust as implied agreement to that part of my idea.

        On to the need aspect. I will agree with you we were making good progress before. But I don’t buy the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. Fact is, as good as we were doing, people were clamoring for change (hence the huge buy into the “change is coming” crap). Coz whatever good we were achieving then, many were not benefitting from. As to what specifically needs to be changed and how, maybe that’s where a carefully designed federal government comes in. Then again, maybe not.

        • I don’t agree to anything at all. These are very generalized arguments. Voters did not clamor for change. Poe split the ‘conventional’ vote and Duterte won. Also, Aquino was attacked relentlessly by people who weren’t getting their way. That was the basis for discontent. Fake news basically, or manipulated emotions. The people who drove complaints are now in charge and have delivered 20,000 or so deaths to Aquino’s 44 at Mamasapano. Remember the rage over the 44? Weird, in hindsight.

          Federalism is irrelevant as far as I can tell. LGUs are not driving this. Duterte is.

          • Jose Guevarra says:

            Manipulated or not, 16 million is a lot of voters believing that “change is coming.” Don’t you think they really wanted something?

            • NHerrera says:

              The situation seems to me rather like a mother asking her objecting but reasoning child to take his [untasty] vitamin. The child wants a change. Comes now a vitamin which besides having a good smell has improved taste but doesn’t do him good in the short or long term. I do not mean by my analogy to say that the mass of the 16 million who voted for Duterte and who want a change are rather like children. Far from it. In my analogy I said that the child objector is a “reasoning” child. It is just possible that the reasoning prowess of this smartphone-toting child [who reads Joe’s TSH Blog regularly he he] may be superior to many of the 16 million voters in reasoning power. So there you are.

            • I think most were voting a personal need to have some power through their attachment to the image of Duterte’s rebellious presentation. I suspect federalism never entered their minds or much of anything that pertained to the workings of government.

  8. juan g lee says:

    maybe if we look at control and services provided to the people, federalism may have a good chance to make sense with pinoys. there will be regional tax and national tax. taxes equate to monies. the money controllers (region heads) can program their monies to provide services to the people: health care, education, infra-structure development, peace and order, admin support, judicial support etc. each region should have some kind of autonomy with respect to their region but if national government will dictate regional government then federalism is bound to fail. the responsibilities of the national govt and the regional govt must be specified. each region will have to have its own constitution to abide with so it can govern. if federalism is adopted purely for political purposes it is bound to fail. federalism should be explained in terms who controls the region and its resources and how best can the region provide the services for its inhabitants. are we ready for it, i believe the people needs more education. i am for federalism but it is not yet the right time because so many people do not understand what is federalism.

    • You make good sense, juan. Step 1 is to detach the form and process from personal ambitions of politicians.

      • juan g lee says:

        totally agree. bayan muna before personal ambition. personal ambition is good if it is honorable and if it is for the good of the majority. but apparently many of our folks ask what is it in for me? ang “lagay” ba naman ganyan na lang.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Back to lack of trust,
      People actually believe that everyone is in the take, some are just good at not getting caught.

      From building blank(ie barangay hall, road widening) with substandard and overpriced materials. To procuring blank with winning bidder making other bidders happy or else.

      I guess any system would do because our values attitudes and behavior wont change unless we want to.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Services in Gov agencies..you will be told:ser mam computerized na tayo wala ba kayo computer o internet puno ba computer shop sa tapat?
        Me paraan ako para mapabilis ang pangyayari, di po ako fixer model employee of the month po ako.

      • Francis says:

        “Everyone’s corrupt—so it is okay for me to steal a little bit…”

        A vicious cycle.

        • juan g lee says:

          the problem is ‘it is not a little bit’ but talamak na nakawan sa kaban ng bayan. i would say a little amount maybe ok, paconsuelo de bobo. let us call it tipping a good deed. someone told me that if you want an express service for one’s passport in the states one has to pay higher than the regular or standard service. the problem in pinas is the extra fee goes only to few individuals para may pang good time instead of going to the national treasury. some say stealing is just reallocation of resources for some other purpose without permission.

      • Jose Guevarra says:

        Which to me can only be resolved by significant time gaps between proposal, ratification, transition, and final implementation. The proponents will then be sufficiently removed from the initial implementation of the proposed charter, should it be ratified. Something like ten years from proposal to implementation, along with provisions for reckoning term limits from the 1987 charter for all elective officials (so Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo, Aquino, and Duterte cannot even think about running should they happen to still be around, say, in 2028). This way, the proposed charter cannot be construed as a means for anyone to perpetuate themselves in the same office.

  9. Jose Guevarra says:

    I am willing to say this: federalism per se is NOT the answer to the Philippines’ problems. Heck, any form of government, in the wrong hands, is a tool for evil. We have, in fact, seen how the government we have right now, when we choose the right people (not necessarily the best people), can actually work. This happened when Noynoy was in charge. But more often than not, we choose the wrong ones (Estrada, Duterte) and we pay hell for making those choices.

    Federalism may do us good. But it will only do us good if we also choose our leaders well. We only need to look to our friends to the West. When the Americans elect its finest men and women to lead them, their federal government does wonders for them. But when they elect people like Trump, federalism also brings out the worst in them.

    • Yes, I agree with that.

    • Here’s another blast at the process by the Inquirer’s John Nery who confirms the three tracks for Duterte grabbing complete control: (A) Rev Gov, failed, (B) Federalism, underway, and (C) nationwide Martial Law. He does not recite it, but there is also an option D which is to elect Sara Duterte-Carpio as President in 2022.

      Nery states an unfortunate outcome of the process, the use of good people to advance a takeover agenda (the Consultative Committee):

      A sad spectacle—because, in reality, the leaders of the ruling coalition do not actually subscribe to the federalism ideal. Like President Duterte himself, they are all Johnny-come-latelys to federalism, using the good name and the good faith of the true believers as mere cover.


  10. Jose Guevarra says:

    There is one change to the charter that I wish we would have: run-off elections. Duterte took advantage of the fact that there usually are at least 5 candidates for president every time we have elections. With this, he realized very quickly he only needed to garner more than 30% of the votes cast to win. Which happened, of course, even with his late entry into the race. I know that run-offs would not have necessarily prevented his election (we will never know because that will never happen), but then again, maybe it would have. He might have not even decided to run at all if he had known he had to campaign twice.

  11. pilosopongkomikado says:

    Federalism is GOOD for underrated cities that also need to be enriched… come on, not just major cities like Metro Manila, Cebu, or Davao… or GenSan.

    Philippines under a FEDERAL form of government will surely benefit Metro Manila (via decongestion), and people of the provinces need not to make Manila the “end-of-it-all” to start a new life.

    • Basis for your assessment?

      Most of the objections within this discussion forum are not as to the merits of a federalist system, but the lack of trust in those implementing it and the perceived flaws in the document. Plus there are warnings from Moodys and Philippine economists that the move poses economic risks. One source said only three of the proposed 18 states had sufficient economic strength to prosper. Here’s another balanced view:


    • Jose Guevarra says:

      Singapore and South Korea were ruled by dictators and prospered. Mexico and Brazil have federal governments but both have still have much to desire. At the end of the day, it isn’t the form of government that predicts whether economic prosperity will come our way or not. The different types of government are just like different brands of equipment that we use when we have tasks at hand. It’s still what we and our politicians do with our government that matters.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I know federalism takes too long to implement let us say more than twenty years.
        While they are at it. Let us remove anti dynasty first, then improve many thing to wit:
        our justice system, our prison system, our bureucratic system, our value system or the whole universe of systems.

        Nothing is perfect just do kaizen(continuous improv), the Toyota way.( with out having to recall units after a scandal)

  12. karlgarcia says:

    The difference between me and Edgar is, he has an organized mind and I do not, so I will do my best sorry if it goes messy.

    One potential problem of federalism and build build.

    More useless road widening projects like the literal magnet of tourists ( you can drive uphill with out using your accelerator).
    They say build it and they will come, that is the most famous lousiest forecasting method there is.
    You have to condider past traffic volume before road widening, other wise you can chop down trees but not electric posts and you end up with parking spaces for the few cars around the area.

    More roads less travelled.
    Can a federal government remove and relocate those electrical posts where the the national government failed.
    What about trees can they also relocate them?

    Build it and they will come back, is that what federalism promises?
    Decongestion of urban areas by adding more urban centers exacerbating food and water insecurity.

    The build program intends to bring back the engineers and the skilled workers.
    Why snub and shun DOST proposals.
    We could have gone beyond testing or even beyond the drawing board where they can’t even give you ink and paper just to allow you to draw.

    Ok until another old idea.

    • karlgarcia says:

      We can not always look to our neighbors for our food security.
      Ink and paper can end the trade war as I write this, but without the hands that sign that paper the trade war will just get worse by the day.

      Thailand, Vietnam and the new rice producers like India will feed China and India.
      Where do we get our rice, maybe we should try California rice and our problem are solved?
      What about our NFA rice?

      Argentina and Brazil are already doubling or tripling their output of soy just to provide Chinese and EU (and Afirica)
      We should take American soy to feed our cattle and livestock.

      For water we must have out of this world state of the art water treatment and desalination facilities.

      The developers must reconfigure their mixed use projects that include urban agriculture.(which does not answer the rice situation)
      What about the Boracay situation of decay,have no fear when decays are the problem judt visit your dentist every six months.

      • Maybe we should have a few large, efficient rice farms, like those Americans, and employ the displaced people building ships and jeeps. American farmers plant rice with seeds dropped from airplanes. Unknown to most, rice is one of California’s top crops. Most is grown in the Sacramento River delta.

        • karlgarcia says:

          They say that Thailand and Vietnam are gifted with a river and we are not.

          We do not need a long river, just enough rivers to irrigate a few large farms and plenty small ones.

          By the way, I hope the amount of snow that melted would be good enough to solve the California drought at least for a few years.

    • Well, you are becoming almost as poetic as Popoy. 🙂

      Those telephone posts in the road are incredible. It reflects the idea from the locals that, we the locals know about them, and if some poor visitor in the middle of the night kills himself on them, it’s not on us.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    I almost forgot while the next leaders arefiguring out the funding sources for the rest if the Philippines, the whole nation will scramble to just fund the Bangsa Moro region.
    For a temporary permanent transition period

  14. Leo says:

    In my college days long, long time ago, this Federalism was a favorite topic over bottles of beer. Lively discussions were had and, back then, it was very attractive. The arguments today that this will spread the economic, civil and social activities away from the “power hungry, Imperialist Manila, have been heard a million times before. So too the argument that Federalism will empower the diversified regions to self-realization and determination.

    Reading several of the opinion here is quite informative. Hopefully, we, as a people, will be able to discern for ourselves the best option we want our country to pursue.

    Here is a scenario if we decide to go Federal; using the current regional areas as states, specifically MIMAROPA Region IVB. what are their chances of competing with other “States” in terms of economic viability? As autonomous states, each one will be competing to attract businesses. Businesses wants good infrastructures in place to thrive or to even be conceived. How will they lure potential investors away from their neighbor Region IVA CALABARZON? How can they even compete with Region VII in far away CEBU? MIMAROPA will have limited resources to upgrade their infrastructure financially with their geography adding another dimension to the complexity of their predicament? Can Puerto Princessa aid the other islands in their infra upgrade or vice versa?

    When it comes to politics/ leadership, will each island answer to a Governor from another island? Which bring us to the question, how do we safeguard ourselves that political dynasties will not thrive in this divisive political environment? If political dynasties arise, and , mind you, the governor has the ultimate executive power over the state affairs, including the police, following current federal templates, how can we seek redress for abuse or corruption? The governor will have extreme power to influence the state legislative and judiciary.

    Finally, the argument that taxes will be lesser because the State can enact their own taxation system. This will not happen. Each individual will still have to pay federal taxes to maintain our national institutions like the military, the three branches of the federal government and our foreign affairs; AND State taxes. if the tax base is small, then the operating finances for that state will also be small, which again brings us back to the infrastructure-economic scenario. These smaller states will have to increase taxation to cope with the operating expenses, which will not attract potential investors.

    On the other hand, to say outright that Federalism is not for Filipinos is very self-deprecating. I think it can be brought about to the benefit of the people, but it should not be rushed, and the people should be informed of the pros and cons with several venues opened for such discussion/education. Adding this to the curriculum for at least four years as mandatory course for secondary and high school can be a start so that the stakeholders will have a say in their future with open mind and determined hearts. Today, the people have very little knowledge of what this issue is all about. If you listen to each camp, they only highlight what can support their agenda.

    Congress will never be able to selflessly promulgate a working constitution that will ensure our basic human rights and liberties. We need a more apolitical assembly to really capture the more suitable constitution on which we can base any other form of government for the people by the people.

    • A very astute read-out. I can’t find anything to argue with. I particularly was struck by: “. . . they only highlight what can support their agenda.“


    • karlgarcia says:

      Good read!

    • karlgarcia says:

      I agree that the Federal form as proposed by the con committee should be added to curriculum for the Social Studies subjects.

      Though, I still think the Congress under speaker Arroyo will push for Federal Parliamentary, no matter how many times Gloria denies this.

      The curricula should tackle both Federal Presidential and Federal Parliamentary.

      That is if Cha cha won’t be “cremated” in the Senate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: