Duterte bloc wields social media to push federalism
BEDIMPLED and charming at 57, Davao City-based businesswoman Belle VilelaChua breaks into a grateful smile when talk drifts to President- elect Rodrigo R. Duterte and his pitch for a Federal Philippines.
“Magaan mag- negosyo dito. Ang business permit ko, ako lang nagaasikaso, walang iba, normally on the first or second working day of the year,” Vilela- Chua said. “’ Di pa nakaka-alas- kwatro ng hapon, tapos na permit ko. Walang red tape [Business is good here ( Davao City). I don’t need anyone to get our business permit. I attend to it myself on the first or second working day of the year. I get the permit before 4 in the afternoon. There is no red tape].”
She and her husband Nonoy used to be based in Cotabato City and were engaged in handicraft export. But they soon shifted to the more
lucrative handicraft retail and, in 2005, moved to Davao City and opened Iconarts, a specialty store.
Vilela- Chua said in Davao City they were able to build a house within two years after they started Iconarts. In the last 10 years they have been able to stabilize their business and save enough for a few holiday trips abroad.
That they supported Duterte during his bid for the presidency, there is no doubt, as evidenced by a poster of the couple on Facebook with the message: “We are Filipinos and our President is Duterte—Nonoy and Belle Chua, entrepreneurs.” A stylized Duterte “change is coming” emblem with the iconic wings of an eagle shadow in the upper right hand of the Facebook poster.
VILELA- CHUA said she first learned about federalism early last year, “when news about Duterte going around the country talking about it [federalism] came up.”
She said the big media outlets weren’t giving Duterte that much attention that time. Vilela- Chua added that she was unfamiliar with federalism. “It wasn’t until former North Cotabato Gov. [now incoming Agriculture Secretary] Emmanuel F. Piñol kept posting about the topic in his Facebook page that I came to fully understand the concept of federalism,” she said. “Eventually, more and more posts and videos about federalism came out in Facebook.”
She added that one of the posts of Piñol included a video on “Ano ba ang Federalismo [What is federalism]?” The video, uploaded in YouTube on April 7— almost a month before the May 9 elections— ran for four minutes and 11 seconds. As of June 5, the video has elicited 63,209 views.
Piñol’s video is essentially a primer on federalism as espoused by then presidential candidate Duterte. It basically compares the present presidential (unitary) form of government with a federal form of government.
Presidential vs federal
THE presidential form of government emphasizes that “power and authority is mostly vested in one centralized government.” responsible for the military and protection of the nation, and the local state government would be responsible for their respective states, where each local government has more control over the projects, budgets and laws.
The Philippines has 7,107 islands, each with diverse tribes and cultures and, obviously, each region has their own specific needs. In cases of emergency, we have repeatedly failed to respond quickly since the facilities, technology and funding is mainly focused on where the centralized government is located. The unitary form of government has failed us again and again. By shifting from a unitary form of government to a federal type of government, Duterte believes we can achieve economic reforms, equal justice, progress to each state and decongest Metro Manila as some would have put it.
Executed in clever graphics and attractive colored animation, the video is representative of about 10 other educational videos on federalism now lined-up in YouTube and were uploaded a month or two before the May 9 elections.
The graphics are so attractive, there are even comments about them: “Ano gamit n’yong editing software [What editing software did you use]?” or “Anong software ginamit para sa animation [What software did you use for the animation]?” The response was, “+JP tribalscene Adobe After Effects.”
As of June 5, these videos have registered some 9,377 views to a high of 63,187 views. These do not include the videos of news reports on Duterte espousing federalism, which run up to 74,000 views and counting.
It is not the first time that a president pushed for Charter change (Cha- cha) during his or her administration. Shifting to a parliamentary form of government was attempted by Presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, who, like Duterte, also espoused federalism.
And, while President Aquino did not espouse Cha-cha, House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr. had sought amendments in the economic provisions of the Constitution.
None of these efforts proved successful. Would Duterte be the exception?
SENATORS and congressmen gather for a joint session to proclaim the winning president and vice president following the official canvass in record time on May 30 at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.