Federalism is better than our unitary form
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2018 - 12:00am

Here we go again… Social Weather Stations (SWS) came up with a survey that showed that only 37 percent of Filipinos support the shift to a federal system of government while only one out of four Filipinos are even aware of what federalism is. But I’ll bet that if SWS did ask the right questions in their survey, whether Filipinos know their Constitution, I’ll bet fewer Filipinos would admit that they know their Constitution.

But if the SWS came up with a survey asking Filipinos whether they want to live in the United States, Germany or Canada, I’m sure that many would agree to live in these places, which are federal states. Yet those same people do not know that these countries have a federal government. Rappler apparently reported that the greatest support for Federalism comes from Mindanao because it is the home Province of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. But in truth many of us who live in the Visayas are believers of the federal form of government. 

Admitting that there is little awareness for the proposed shift to a federal form of government, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the government has much work to do to spread awareness and knowledge on federalism. Roque said, “We will therefore exert even more effort to inform and educate our citizens about federalism since the approval of the proposed changes in our current Charter ultimately lies in the hands of the Filipino people.” While we still have a couple of years to tackle it, we can actually teach Filipinos that a federal Philippines is far better than the present unitary form today. But Malacañang has its work ahead to teach Filipinos about federalism.

For starters, Pres. Duterte must veer away from many of this unnecessary speeches and focus on the importance of federalism because there are so many examples to use. Our ASEAN neighbor Malaysia is a federal country so perhaps we should send scholars to sit down and talk about the merits or demerits of a federal state. I would like to believe that during his State of the Nation Address or SONA, Pres. Duterte would urge his legislature allies to also help in spreading the good news of federalism.

This means every congressional district should conduct educational forums about the pros and cons of federalism and why things haven’t helped the Philippine economy grow because of our unitary form of government. Perhaps the most important government agency to help educate our people is the Department of Education (DepEd), and due to lack of time, perhaps Education Secretary Leonor Briones could conduct a video streaming so this can be shown in most schools that have digital television. PTV-4 can help in disseminating this information.

It is a fact that a year ago MyTV channel 30 in Cebu through SkyCable and in the PARSAT channel 28 in Northern Mindanao had come up with a Federalism Hour without any support from the national government or even Pres. Duterte’s Office. We do this because we believe that the straight path to our economic and political growth is through federalism. Mind you, we’re not saying that federalism is a perfect system of governance, but it is right for the Philippines which already has reached a hundred million population.

It is a fact that the Aquino family is against federalism, not because federalism is bad for the nation, but that the Aquino family simply do not want to change the 1987 Constitution that is named after their mother, Pres.  Corazon Aquino. This is why super yellowtards like former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and the Monsod couple are leading the charge in enumerating all the negatives of federalism, and not teaching people the advantages of federalism for the country.

At this point let me inform our readers that the biggest negative of our current unitary form of governance is in the area of justice. Since the assassination of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. we created a group called Justice for All, Justice for Aquino (JAJA). Yet 31 years after we booted out the Marcos dictatorship,

Justice is something that the ordinary Filipino continues to dream of. But just look at the Office of the Ombudsman who resides in Manila, who by his or her lonesome decides on who should get the axe for stealing government funds. This is why injustice continues today.

But in a federal form of government, each federal state has its own federal ombudsman. So if that ombudsman fails to please the community because of corruption or personal bias, you can bet that the community in that federal state would move heaven and earth to remove that ombudsman for incompetence or worse! Perhaps the best reason to shift to a federal form of government is simply that our unitary form has not helped the ordinary Filipino move forward politically and economically. It is time for federalism.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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