EDITORIAL: PBBM and Federalism
Lately, a news about the President’s pitch on federalism was posted in social media. The news caused a stir among people wishing for a meaningful change. The sound bite rekindled the interest on charter change amidst a continuing negative economic issue promised to be addressed during the campaign, especially that the President comes from a political party that supports federalism.
The proponents of a federalism have valid reasons to support it as a strategic element of charter change. A change in our system of government is backed up by theories in political economy:
CHARACTERISTICS OF UNITARY AND CENTRALIZED GOVERNMENT SYSTEM - Economic – relatively slow growth, uneven distribution of wealth, chronic poverty, unsolved unemployment, less-managed inflation and interest rates, government budget deficits, mounting public debt. Social – loss of local initiative for development, instead militancy, mass actions, armed struggles, separatist or independent movements, communal violence blamed on poverty and social injustice.
Political – weak political parties, proliferation of cause-oriented groups, externally-influenced foreign relations, anchored on general issues less on local or area-specific needs. Nationalized policies – lack sense of history, ideological & philosophical basis. Restrictive governance – deals on regulation and control less on development. Reactive programmes - focused on popular issues rather than on long term vision and strategies.
Centralized plans - often based on general or macro-economic data and formulas, short of local problem analysis. “The policy is the output” – interested on the “what”, leaving the “how” strategies and tactical details
Under our present system we cannot develop the natural potentials, culture, and talents of our respective regions without reference to, or, approval of the central government. We cannot design an effective human resource development system to address the unique needs of our people and communities. We remain illiterate of local economics and entrepreneurship. The left sector supported by biased and destructive activism of most mainstream media and some clergy will not give us a period of peace to pursue steady growth.
Our electoral system is dysfunctional. We do not have true and responsible oppositions - basic requirement for a healthy democracy. Politicians cannot be trusted to work for meaningful change.
HOWEVER, A SHIFT TO FEDERALISM NEEDS A CLEAR AND COMMITTED STRATEGY, WE NEED TO A FOLLOW A PROCESS:
1st - Citizen education on the concept theories, principle of federalism.
2nd: -Plebiscite to approve a clear federal framework.
3rd – drafting of the federal constitution based on the plebiscite
4th- National ratification of the drafted federal constitution, and
5th Implementation of the federal system through the national and state level apparatuses.
THIS WILL BE A TEDIOUS PROCESS, BUT IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE FEDERALISM BE ACCEPTED BY HE PEOPLE AND TO MAKE IT WORK.