By ERIK ESPINA
Contributory missteps to tipping the delicate balance of indigenous identities or regionalized groupings of the Philippine state are age-old memories of inequality and undue advantage. For example – had Manuel Quezon not been a Tagalog in a majority population of Visayans, with a Cebuano vice president, likely, the national language would have been…? To this day, the 1987 Constitutional mandate (Art 14 Sec. 6) for a fair formulary in developing what must be an enriched and vibrant national language, mined from existing Philippine languages, is in hibernation. The impression, to be diplomatic, is that Filipino is Tagalog, as the national language. This is exacerbated by “Imperial Manila” – based media, with a “tunnel vision” for news, events, personalities, etc., highlighted from the same center.
We had the customary and sublime practice of the “North-South Formula” for presidents and vice presidents (Luzon and Visayas/Mindanao, or vice-versa) but it has been diluted in a multi-party and constitutional mess. We had a working two party system, a necessary fulcrum for “check and balance,” to determine majorities, validating governance issues, policies, and democratic contests in the tradition of the Nacionalista and Liberal parties. In such system, the results become an unchallenged voice of the nation, not a downgraded plurality of regional alliances winning elections. A crucial point why national leaders, particularly presidents, should be elected by a national vote, and “tribal” thinking and dissension remain dormant. Such electoral process must remain the starting point of a sovereign act by the majority. Let us not have adventurist and revisionist experimentations in tinkering with the founding institutions of our republic.