The road to Federalism

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The road to Federalism

Topic |  
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jayIt looks to me that the long and rocky road to establishing a federal form of government is finally seeing a ray of hope if Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wins the presidency.

He is the only presidential candidate we see running on a platform of having more autonomy in the local governments via a federal system of government.

What is a federal system of government?

How will it benefit you and me?

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A federal form of government is basically granting more autonomy among regional and local governments to chart their economic destiny.

Federalism means more local autonomy and less of centralized control of government.

Today we have the local government code, but much of our finances are still controlled in Manila.

Who controls the funds? The Department of Budget and Management.

Under the federal system the budget will flow to the different federal states.

Ideally, central Visayas will form one federal state.

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How will this benefit us?

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Most likely, focus on tourism for instance, will link the different provinces of the region under one federal state.

We will have an integrated vision of tourism development in the region.

Unlike today, tourism is “to each his own local government.”

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Kanya-kanyang diskarte in getting national funds for projects.

That won’t likely happen in a federal system.

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What would be the kind of federal system that would be established?

My guess is it will likely be similar that of the United States.

It would be federal system with a strong Presidential chief executive.

We will still elect  President and Vice President  hopefully with a unicameral legislature (two houses of congress is wasteful, dilatory).

Different federal state governments  (executive and legislature) will be formed.

There are other models of course, like those of Malaysia, Germany, Spain, among others.

One big problem with our system is that we are still too dependent of central Manila.

Look at the budgets of the national departments like the Department of Social Welfare, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture.

They are increasing in billions and billions of pesos each year. Who decides the allocations? National.

Its time to change that.

Bring the funds to the federal states by increasing their budgets so that delivery of social services will be more direct and responsive to actual needs.

We do not have to wait for Manila.

Many have been seriously advocating a federal form of government even before

Duterte, a longtime local government official,  bared that this would be his centerpiece of governance.

The constitution needs to be revised early on.

At least in candidate Duterte we see a little clearer what to expect if he is elected.

He will stamp out crime (drugs) in the first six months, and shift to a federal form of government.

Even with his habitual cursing, this candidate manages to clearly deliver a message and sell a  definite product: war on crime & corruption, and pushing federalism.

We want to see something similarly clear from the other candidates also, so that the people can  eventually choose wisely, assuming they will not sell their votes.

But for many who have long been advocating a federal system of government in the Philippines, the biggest hope is in a Duterte presidency. (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)

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