Educating Filipinos about federalism

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2018 - 12:00am

Saturdays are usually my time to relax more so that I’m fast approaching my 2nd year (on Nov. 8) as a kidney transplantee where I can say that I’m still 90 percent back to my old ways… except that I have stopped playing golf. So when I learned that there was a forum last Saturday on federalism titled, “A forum on the economic, social and political viability of federalism in the Philippines” at the City Sports Club, sponsored by the Ateneo School of Government and the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), I decided to join this forum. I brought along a cameraman from MyTV to record this event, after all I have a “Federalism Hour” featured on MyTV.

The first speaker gave pointers on the Bayanihan Federalism. He is no other than Conrad Generoso spokesperson of the Consultative Committee on the Review of the 1987 Constitution. While it was the first time I met him, however he knew me through my columns espousing federalism for this country. His speech was followed by my good friend Michael Henry Yusingco, a research fellow at the Ateneo Policy Center who talked about Charter Change vs. Legislative Reform. If there is any Filipino I know who knows the good points of federalism, it is Yusingco. I have already interviewed him last year about federalism in my talkshow Straight from the Sky and again  interviewed him after the forum last Saturday.

The third speaker was Prof. Jerome Patrick Cruz of the Ateneo Policy Center who talked about economic advantages and risks of federalism in the Philippines. He is an economist at the APC. But while he pointed out that our economistS should be careful about federal states competing with each other, it is nothing to worry about.

After the speakers were done, there were three reactors, namely Atty. Tomas Riveral of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Deodatus Paulo Burgos, president of the University of San Carlos Supreme Student Council and former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. Atty. Riveral was worried about regionalism, but in my book, this is a good problem to have. Region 7 if it becomes a federal state has mostly tourism related industries as compared to Region 8 which is our rice basket. So we shouldn’t worry about regionalism.

Since most of the participants were millennials who went to the forum to learn and be educated about federalism, I would like to believe that Deodatus Burgos gave the best reaction in that forum. He was really there to learn more about the Bayanihan Federalism that the Constitutional Commission came out with.

The last reactor was my former idol, CJ Davide Jr. who obviously did not just make a reaction to the speakers, but came out prepared with his usual anti-federalism stand. By now everyone knows that CJ Davide is against Charter changes not just because he believes that the 1987 Constitution is the best there is (I still believe that the 1935 Constitution is a better one) but rather changing the Constitution would mean, his name won’t be included in the new charter that we would approve.

Come now, the purpose of that forum was to educate people on the pros and cons of federalism and in my book, CJ Davide took the chance to show why he is totally against changing the 1987 Constitution, making himself totally biased. He should have helped the youth learn more about a federal system, rather than call the federal system as anti-Filipino! How could a system of governance be anti-Filipino? I dare CJ Davide explain that to us! Anyway thanks to the Ateneo Policy Center for helping educate the youth about Federalism!

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I have a letter in response to my articles in cleaning up Manila Bay.

“Dear Mr. Avila, I follow your articles in the Philippine STAR about the cleaning of Manila Bay. I live along Roxas Blvd. and I have seen how the once-pristine world wonder has now been desecrated by vendors, homeless people and  passersby.

Once my daughter with her husband and two children came to visit me and excitedly said they will walk along the walkway. After less than 10 minutes, they were back because the children apparently said it “smelled toilet” where they went just across the stretch from Quirino St./Roxas Blvd.

If only Mayor Estrada and even former Mayor Lim who then agreed to put dolphins in Manila Bay (OMG, are we voting for him again?), if only the two who are running could walk along Roxas Blvd. (can they honestly walk?), they may cry and hopefully make it a priority to clean just as PRRD made the will to clean Boracay. Best! Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo, Executive Director,  Human Resources Management Office, Department of Foreign Affairs.”

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