A shift to a parliamentary form: Du30’s legacy
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

When he was in Cebu last Saturday for a thanksgiving dinner, Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence Go revealed that changing the current setup of the Philippine government from current unitary to federal system is far from reality. He was asked this question whether his winning the Senatorial race would help improve the chances of our shift to a federal form of government.

But what about Pres. Duterte’s response to the threat of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari only last March that he would go to war if federalism will not happen? As pointed out by Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo who echoed the remarks of the president that he understands the sentiments of Misuari on the proposed shift to a federal form of government, but it would be up to Congress. So why has Pres. Duterte already accepted that the planned shift to a federal state would not be attained during his remaining three years in office according to Bong Go?

At this point pro-federalists are still hoping that Pres. Duterte has not abandoned his federalism proposal especially now that he has mentioned the possibility of having a parliamentary form of government like most of the well-managed democratic nations on earth. At this point, I suggest to the President that he should consider working on something that will leave a lasting legacy for Filipinos, which can be in a form of parliamentary system.

I have already written this before and I dare write it again that we should come up with a political system of governance similar to the German parliamentary, where they have the Bundestag (which is Congress) and the Bundesrat, which is a chamber of regional representatives. Today we have two chambers in our Legislative branch, the Senate and Congress and both make laws, which more often than not clash with each other. However, the problem with the Senate is when we elect Senators who do not represent any region in the country.

Hence, I propose electing a new chamber coming from the group of Governors in each region. For instance in Region 7 we have three governors from Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental… then all we need to do is elect one Governor coming from Region 7 and this solves the issue of having full representation in the upper house unlike what we have today where we don’t have a representative from Region 7 in the Senate.

So when we shift to a parliamentary system of governance, the Region or State Governors would devote two days of a week as “Senators” but they no longer make laws or call for useless public investigations. But like the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, they only check what laws Congress is trying to pass and come up with a scheme to check  these laws before they are passed. If and when Pres. Duterte pushes for this reform in the last three years of his presidency, he would shift this nation into a mature political system of governance, a legacy that Pres. Duterte can leave this grateful nation that only he can leave behind!

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If you want to know why Pres. Rodrigo Duterte enjoys a high popularity rating… it is because he tackles issues that happens to ordinary Filipinos that besiege them on a daily basis. For instance, a few days ago, Pres. Duterte made a surprise visit to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) when he learned of many flight cancellations and hours-long delays in NAIA due to a lightning alert last Sunday, and he talked with a Philippine Airlines (PAL) manager and a NAIA 2 airport duty manager who briefed the President on the flight delays and enumerated actions being done to bring the situation back to normal. Pres. Duterte even talked to passengers and apologized to them for the inconvenience caused by the disruptions.

Those who joined Pres. Duterte’s airport inspection were MIAA general manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general Capt. Jim Sydiongco, Senator-elect Christopher Go, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Davao-based businessman Sammy Uy and Metro Manila police director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.

After meeting with aviation officials, Pres. Duterte ordered the immediate start of operations at Sangley Point in Cavite, which is close enough to NAIA. However the road going to Sangley Point was just too narrow and traffic congested. But if a ferry service from Roxas Blvd can be made, then Sangley Point can start very quickly. It was then that Secretary Tugade reported that he had already initiated the testing of ferries that can operate from Mall of Asia to Sangley within 18-24 minutes.

If indeed, all domestic or prop driven aircraft or other smaller destinations can be moved to Sangley Point, I believe that this is one way to solve this congestion problem. This reminds me of my asking for a second runway for the MCIAA, which Manila officials always tell me that it wasn’t needed. That was a solution to traffic congestion in NAIA, but they didn’t listen.

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 Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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