Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
With a shift to federalism being one of the flagship campaign promises of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, it would make sense for the people of the Philippines to take more time to learn about that form of government, whether they voted for him or not.
A federal form of government has long been attractive to the people of the provinces who see the current system as biased towards “Imperial Manila”. Federalism promises to increase decentralization as well as give more power and access to resources to the provinces and regions that are currently heavily dependent on the national government.
Federalism has also been seen as one solution to the Mindanao crisis. When President Aquino's nixed Bangsamoro Basic Law that provided similar mechanisms to the areas that would have been covered by the law, many from the provinces were left wondering when they would be afforded the same advantages and privileges.
Now that Rodrigo Duterte's amazing rise to the presidency has finally made the shift to a federal form of government a distinct possibility, it is a good time for Filipinos to seriously look into the advantages and disadvantages of such a significant change in our system of governance. They say that the devil is in the details, and it is up to us, most especially the representatives we have elected, to either protect or advance our interests, to scrutinize every aspect of the Duterte administration's proposals to shift to federalism.
President-elect Rody Duterte has not yet assumed power but as we scrutinize his proposed appointments and policies in order to get a read on how change is going to come to the Philippines, we should also give the issue of federalism a long, hard look in order to prepare ourselves to engage in the spirited discussions that are sure to follow.
Start with asking your representative in Congress what he or she knows about federalism when you have the chance because our nation stands at a moment in history when those people will truly determine the future of this country.*