Filipinos must thoroughly understand federalism
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.