Duterte bloc wields so­cial me­dia to push fed­er­al­ism

Business Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By Psy­che Roxas-Men­doza @Psy­cheRoxas First of three parts

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.

Facebook, Youtube

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.

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