By Paulo DS. Papa
NAGA CITY--- “In theory, the federal set up of government gives us much control of our provinces because provincial governments are more empowered that will make us less dependent on the central government,” Dennis Gonzaga, a political science professor of Ateneo de Naga University in an interview with this paper said.
“The federal set up of government is good because provinces will have greater economic fiscal decisions and resource management” he warned that establishing a federal government is dangerous for provinces which are being controlled by few political families because of the political culture (which is neo feudalism) obtaining in the present political landscape.
“Igwa ini nin tendency towards warlordism. Kun hihilingon ta, dae ta man maninigar na an sarong teritoryo na kontrolado kan sarong political family garo nagtatao sainda nin extra ammunition” (There is a tendency for warlordism. If we observe it, we cannot deny that a territory under a political family likely giving them extra ammunition), he explained.
Gonzaga concluded that in order for federalism to be successful, the voting public should be informed by the pros and cons of federalism so that people will have chance to weigh options and decide wisely on whether or not they would embrace such system of government as pushed by the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
On the other hand, Gonzaga enumerated two critical disadvantages of the present centralized system of government. These are:
I Dependency of the local governments on tax percentage provided by the central government for public purposes.
II Dependency of local officials on decisions made or prescribed by the national agencies.
In the event that the federal system is adopted, Gonzaga said local businesses will compete well with national or international companies by providing subsidies and tax incentives to local industries and maximize promotion of local goods and services by the people themselves who have intimate knowledge of their products and services.
In the field of the arts, the Ateneo professor said under a federal form of government, promotion of local culture will be more passionate, thriving and diverse. “Dakulang bagay ini. Nagpapara-bow kaya kita sa mga tagalog-centric critics and artists na kaipuhan nin translation pag-abot sa workshops. Ibe-break ta ini tanganing si mga aspiring artists (local artists) yaon na sa vernacular bilang mother tongue ninda.” (This is a great thing. We are bowing on the Tagalog critics and artists that need translations in workshops. We will break this in order for aspiring local artists to rely on the vernacular as their mother tongue.)
He urged that both government and the academe should be united to provide greater knowledge regarding federal government and widely explain why this form of government is more suitable for the country.
“Pinapahiling kaini na scattered kita na dae man tulos natututukan kan central government.”