Filipinos must thor­oughly un­der­stand fed­er­al­ism

Palawan Daily News - - Opinion -

Out of five cam­paign prom­ises of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, only one has left to be de­liv­ered—the shift to fed­er­al­ism.

The move for fed­er­al­ism in the Philip­pines started ac­tu­ally dur­ing the time of the Philip­pine Revolution with Emilio Aguinaldo and Apoli­nario Mabini sug­gest­ing to di­vide the coun­try into three fed­eral states.

In this 21st cen­tury, Univer­sity of the Philip­pines pro­fes­sor Jose Abueva was one of the first pro­po­nents to form a fed­eral govern­ment to ef­fi­ciently cater the needs of the coun­try. Aside from Abueva, for­mer Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aquilino Pi­mentel Jr. pushed fed­er­al­ism to solve the cri­sis in Min­danao and Moro sep­a­ratism.

Dur­ing the time of for­mer Pres­i­dent Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal Ar­royo, her ad­min­is­tra­tion also tried to lobby the move to shift to fed­er­al­ism, but due to the pub­lic’s up­roar, the plan did not ma­te­ri­al­ize.

Fed­er­al­ism has long been eyed to be the so­lu­tion to ad­dress the con­cerns and needs of ev­ery ci­ti­zen in the coun­try. This will de­cen­tral­ize the govern­ment. This sim­ply means that lo­cal govern­ment would not need ap­proval from the na­tional level but in­stead de­cide for them­selves even with­out the ap­proval from the pres­i­dent. Is­sues and con­cerns will be de­cided and tack­led by the re­gions, which form the fed­eral states.

There will be no more de­layed pro­jects as these will be man­aged by the re­spec­tive states, with­out re­ly­ing from the na­tional and cen­tral of­fices.

Un­der the fed­eral sys­tem, lo­cal govern­ment will have more author­ity and power over their own re­sources. They can de­cide to im­prove their econ­omy and drive more ef­forts to im­prove it.

Fur­ther­more, there will be equal dis­tri­bu­tion of coun­try’s wealth among fed­eral states and they will have fis­cal au­ton­omy among them­selves. Peo­ple from the prov­inces will no longer mi­grate to Metro Manila to find jobs and busi­ness­men would con­cen­trate putting up their busi­ness in any lo­ca­tion they want across the fed­eral states.

As the coun­try braces for the move to fed­er­al­ism, there are peo­ple who have reser­va­tions think­ing that the pres­i­dent will ex­tend more of his term. But the Palace, and even the pres­i­dent him­self, firmly de­nied ex­tend­ing his term as he would re­sign once the law to shift has been passed.

In the pro­posed char­ter, there will be 18 re­gions namely, Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion, Ilo­cos, Ca­gayan Val­ley, Cen­tral Lu­zon, Cal­abar­zon, Mi­maropa, Bi­col, Ne­gros Is­land, Eastern Visayas, Cen­tral Visayas, West­ern Visayas, North­ern Min­danao, Davao, Soc­ck­sar­gen, Caraga, Zam­boanga, ARMM or Bangsamoro, and Cordillera.

The need to shift is es­sen­tial, but what is needed the most is the aware­ness of ev­ery Filipino ci­ti­zen as to why Fed­er­al­ism could solve the press­ing is­sues in the coun­try. Ev­ery ci­ti­zen should ded­i­cate him­self or her­self to re­search more and to par­tic­i­pate in ev­ery dis­cus­sion. By these, we are all equipped with the proper de­ci­sion to sup­port it or not. In­deed, Filipinos must thor­oughly un­der­stand what fed­er­al­ism is all about.

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