Federalist questions (Part 18)



Erik Espina

Erik Espina

Federalism was a catchy campaign tag-line for the sharing of revenues and power, to expedite development and progress in parts of the Philippines, left behind. The political imbalance coupled with rising regional/local demands for economic equality led to provincial resentments in the Visayas and Mindanao. Federalism became a promising proposition to supposedly guarantee equal standing before a “Tagalog” controlled capital, and as a rational way to resolve contradictions in economic activity, investment, business development, and infra projects mostly concentrated in Metro Manila, Region 4, and Luzon provinces.  Recall, the drives for political equivalence by leaders from the Visayas and Mindanao, e.g., “Promdi” Party of Lito Osmena, the cry among Cebuano speakers nationwide of “Kita Nasad” (Our turn), and the battle cry under the Duterte Campaign, “Bisaya na pud” (Choose a Visayan).

Examination of the victory of the present administration, however, argues for a non-mandate to establish federalism, considering the sum total of votes won by other presidential aspirants back then. Truth to tell, crime, drugs, corruption, and straight-talking, carried the day for a Mindanaoan being the more relatable backbone for Mayor Duterte winning the election. Federalism was a PDP platform assumed by necessity of the party standard bearer. PDP needed a Duterte to metamorphose into national prominence, plus create a new chorus of butterflies in Philippine politics.

Federalism in its purest application is recognized as an expensive system of government. It is alternately known as “bureaucratization,” referring to the duplication and triplication, etc., of government bureaucracies from state to federal governance, e.g., state congress, state supreme courts, plus federal congress and federal supreme court. There are federal governments which are in application, unitary in administration, e.g., Germany, US, etc. where Berlin and Washington, DC, still calls the shots.