Federalism Part 3. Resources


When the pre-Hispanic Filipinos settled our archipelago, they naturally settled in places with natural resources that they know to take advantage of. They searched for rivers for ease in transportation, water supply and farming.  It would be more beneficial if those rivers connect forests where animals live.

The condition of the natural resources affected the condition of the human resources.  There were places that were not healthful even if the natural resources were plenty.  There were malaria infested places and other endemic diseases.


Natural Resources

A group of people of relatively similar languages settled the islands that are now called the Visayas Region.  Food was available from the sea and the sea itself served as the “highways” that connected the different islands.

The different islands have natural resources but basically it was only the flora and fauna that were utilized by the Visayans.  They did not utilize the mineral resources of the islands.

There is a written record when the Legazpi Expedition was yet somewhere in Leyte.  The Spaniards recorded that the natives were foolish and naïve because a nugget of gold as big as a chicken egg was exchanged only for four (4) iron nails.  In the view point of the natives, the Spaniards were the ones who were foolish and naïve because the nugget of gold was just picked up from the river.  Gold as a soft metal was considered by the natives to be of less value than the hard iron metal.

Human Resources

As great sailors the people eventually developed indigenous knowledge and a system of education to transmit the knowledge to the next generation.  The belief systems and religions were developed or adopted from other places.

The Visayans became great sailors but they were not miners that extracted the minerals from the ground.

However their medicines and drugs that were developed were good enough to maintain a healthy population.  Most of these medicines and treatment procedures were adopted from Southern India.

Federalism Factor

The proposed federalism now considered is towards devolution and not centralization.  If we consider the natural and human resources as a major factor in federalism, the different states will be uneven.

After a century of American influence, the level of education in different places in the Philippines is unequal.  Can each State obtain properly trained and educated people to operate the Regional State?

Can each State have the human resources that keep the state healthy, well fed, safe and prosperous?

Conflict of Policy

Even if the natural and human resources are available, another factor must be also considered that is also vital.  Is the vision and mission of governance in consonance with the available resources?

The Island of Bohol has plenty of mineral resources that can make the Province of Bohol very rich if these resources are harnessed.  However, it is the official policy in Bohol that we will aim only for “eco-cultural tourism”.  It is a policy that can be imitated and competed with.  However, if we will harness the gold and copper deposits in Danao and Getafe, Bohol it is an economic activity that is unique only to Bohol.

In some places in the Philippines the people will agree with mining activities and some places will not.  This is a difficult issue to be considered in federalism. (By Jes B. Tirol)

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