top of page

EDITORIAL: The Federal Delusion

The big wonder today is why there is no habitual exodus of politicians to the political party of the President. Consequently why President BBM is silent, so far, on federalism which is supposed to be the main advocacy of his party. More brainteaser - in the 2016 presidential elections federalism was already a major campaign platform of then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte based on popular clamour. However, in spite of his popularity, he failed to push it during his six years term.

This brings us to lingering questions: Is federalism just a campaign slogan? Is it only used to satisfy a seasonal rage? Are we really serious about changing the constitution? What’s keeping us from pursuing a final action on the subject so that we can put the matter to rest?

In the absence of official and scientific policy research, we can only refer to generic political and economic theories to discredit the unitary government system. Unitary governments deal more with the consolidation of central power through regulation and control policies. Centralized governmental powers result in tight economic growth, externally-influenced foreign relations, poorly managed inflation and interest rates, swelling public debts, and proliferation of cause-oriented groups due to social issues: uneven distribution of wealth, chronic poverty, unsolved unemployment, dysfunctional electoral system, weak political parties, no true and responsible oppositions – all basic requirement for healthy democratic capitalism.

Under our present unitary structure we cannot fully develop the economic potentials of our regions without reference to, or approval of the central government. We cannot design effective and applied human resource development programs that should address the unique needs of our local people and communities. Many of our constituents remain illiterate in basic economics and entrepreneurship. Arts and culture is not being used to promote and develop patriotism. Our social will and political power are imprisoned in national standard policies and guidelines. The left sector is supported by destructive activism, politicized mainstream media, and monetary interest of most social media practitioners. These facts do not give us a long period of peace and security to pursue steady growth and workable development. These are perpetual concerns that cannot be ignored.

Enough is enough. Let us put an end to these unproductive arguments. People have been promoting a prominent alternative – Federalism. We must create economically-challenged regions that can produce their own wealth, products, and services that can be sold or traded not with foreign countries but with member regions within the federation. We have the talents and skills that can support our national aspirations for real and meaningful change. We have the experiences to make our local governments and communities self-sufficient and resilient even with a federal system of fiscal management and development economics.

But we cannot just decide on this without a strategy: mass education and advocacy. Once and for all let the people decide on the tedious questions: do we want to maintain our present unitary government? Or, do we want to change it into a federal system? Do we want to preserve the presidential form? Or, do we want to replace it with a parliamentary one? Or do we want a hi-bred or a combination of the two systems? Then based on the results of the plebiscite authorize a multi-sector body to argue and propose the detailed provisions of a new constitution.



bottom of page