By: TaxJ

I think I have touched all your concerns in my letters to Senators and opinion writers. Briefly, let me pass on them. Re purse: as with the LGC and ARRM, isn’t release supposed to be automatic and mandatory. It’s a matter of law-enforcement!

1. Cause the speedy development of the entire country by unleashing the forces of competitiveness among the States; and,

This is hogwash. State operations is yet to be drawn. At most it would go through a experimental stage. Cities and provinces are operational. Its weaknesses are identifiable and can be remedied at once.

2. Dissipate the causes of rebellion in the country and particularly in Mindanao.

The contrary will happen. States will foment inter-tribal and religious rivalry. At the provincial level tribes and Christian settlers generally get along well with each other. It is easier to deal with the problem at this level. This is provided for under RA 8371 which would issue AD titles to actual, not historical, occupants. Seldom will you find inter-ethnic/cultural conflict within the confines of a province.

3. Congress will not part with its largess. Precisely. This is why my idea calls for a revolution, no less. This is not a band aid solution, but a lasting one.

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I think that would be impossible. Filipinos love shortcut and the easiest way for politicians to get money is through the status quo — waiting for the largesse from Malacanang.

Besides, the first thing we need to do is to convince our Congressmen as you say, to pass a reinvigorated Local Government Code. But would they work on something that will hurt their pockets? Of course not especially considering that the present system allows them to dip into government budget in the guise of pork barrel, etc.

Okay, I may sound pessimistic. Our Congressmen are pro-people and they love their constituents. But retaining the unitary system with all powers still centralized will do no better even if there is this “new LGC”. Why? Because what is the “purse” without the corresponding power and autonomy to use it? Look at the CAR and the ARMM who, according to some officials, are still dependent on Malacanang because they have no autonomy to enact their own budget, etc., etc. This is because the problem now is the system and as such we need to address the system and not just offer simple reforms (or vulca seal solutions) like taking paracetamol in dealing with our fractured bones.

My whole take on this issue is at: http://politechwatch.blogspot.com/2008/08/federalizing-philippines-right-track-at.html

(Original post and comment is found here.)

By: TaxJ

Ninoy Aquino begat hope and courage. Hope and courage begat EDSA 1. EDSA 1 begat Cory, FVR, ERAP and EDSA 2. EDSA 2 begat Gloria. Gloria begat unprecedented corruption and poverty, then a MOA that led to war: Filipinos against Filipinos. The combination of these events begat the loss of Ninoy’s legacy.

The absence of his legacy begat poverty in mind and spirit as well. We dare not move against Gloria because of fear, not for life and limb, but for the uncertain scenario of an early PGMA exit. Even 2010 is viewed with much skepticism. Embedded in our hearts are the lessons of experience: no change in leadership ever brought any relief.

Senator Nene Pimentel correctly diagnosed the problem: too much wealth and power in the Presidency or Imperial Manila. Unfortunately the prescription he gave is seriously flawed. Federalism won’t solve the problem. It will only aggravate it. He is just complicating a simple solution: decentralization through legislation. This is allowed by the present Constitution.

Clip the powers of the presidency; distribute it to the local government units. This is the good Senator’s forte. He must have overlooked it in his haste to post another date in history: from the father of local autonomy to the champion of federalism! Unfortunately, it promises to be his undoing. Cha-cha is dead for now. And even if it reaches a plebiscite, a provision adding more people to the unpopular bodies would spell its doom. People would rather vote for the abolition of one of the two Chambers, or both!

Fortunately, it is not too late for Mr. Local Autonomy to be true to his calling. Instead of gunning for federalism he may rally the local government officials to persuade Congress to approve a legislation that incorporates his 20/80 formula in an invigorated Local Government Code. Who knows that, under intense pressure, its members might even come to their senses, get real and go for impeachment instead?

(Original post here)

Which is better: A Federal System or a Unitary System with a highly decentralized structure?

This question propped-up in line with the renewed moves to federalize the Philippines especially with Sen. Nene Pimentel’s passage of Resolution No. 10 asking the Congress to convene as a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) and amend the Constitution in favor of a federalist set-up.

While I am not yet certain as to the manner of amending the Constitution by means of ConAss, I am already sure of my advocacy — Federalism. As to why, this will be shown in the succeeding articles in this blog.

To balance the scales, our friend, Tax-J, will also argue that the federalist set-up is not necessary. What we need is a highly decentralized system giving full autonomy to the local government units. His arguments will also be posted in this blog.

The objectives why we put-up this blog are:

  1. To argue our respective ideas intelligently. No one has the monopoly of truth, it should be stressed, so it could be that my idea or Tax-J’s idea is wanting in some respects, or superior in some respects. The flaws or superiority of the idea of either of us can hopefully be perfected in the future as we all help carve the path the Philippines had to take.
  2. To forward our advocacy and enjoin you, our readers, to formulate your own stand or contribute to the polishing of our ideas. It could be that we overlooked something or that we focused only on one aspect without knowing that there are also other sides of the story. I remember one of my professors, Carlos Gegantoca, said: There are always three sides in a story — your side, my side and the correct side.
  3. To help proponents and advocates either of federalism and decentralization under a unitary system in coming up with strong arguments as well as provide action points in pushing for their respective advocacies.

Our discussion was started days ago and most of these were e-mails. For a start, we’ll publish these e-mails for the reference of all of us. From time to time, we will also be publishing or cross-posting articles in the web regarding federalism and decentralization.

Welcome to our blog and enjoy reading!