The Federalist appeal

Did you know that May is Anti-Graft and Corruption Awareness Month? Information is a good tool for ferreting out graft and corruption, and a Freedom of Information Act will be a step in the right direction. As Uniffors puts it, with the proposed bill being sponsored on the floor of the House, Cockroaches placed on notice.

food.jpg

My Arab News column for the week’s Cooperation in the Wake of Rice Panic. (and recently, it was Canada’s turn: Food-buying panic hits Canadian stores). The column refers to the chart above, distributed in a recent newsletter of Nouriel Roubini. As it is, Rice prices may fall by 50% by yearend–economists. But for now, it’s belt-tightening all around, as The Unlawyer, who is visiting Singapore, noticed.

My entry yesterday focused on the effect on prices of the government’s rice purchases; today’s news has OPEC-style rice cartel up. Interesting information also in Why rice prices surging to record highs. (export curbs; building up national rice stocks; falling world inventories; speculation; changes in land use; and growing population being the main causes).

Incidentally, three articles by Cielito Habito I haven’t linked to, yet: Is there a rice shortage? and (Mis)targeting the poor and Food, fuel and finance . The middle column is particularly relevant because of the question of mapping the poor:

During the Ramos administration, targeting was done by focusing government assistance on the 20 poorest provinces, defined as the provinces with the highest percentage incidences of poverty. It was soon realized, however, that only 11 percent of all poor Filipinos were in those provinces, many of which were smaller ones. Thus, even if all the poor in those provinces were lifted out of poverty, it would make a small dent on national poverty levels. The targeting scheme was thus refined to focus on the 5th and 6th class municipalities, on the premise that the poor can be found in the poor municipalities. We know, of course, that not all people in such municipalities are poor, and even 1st class municipalities have many poor dwellers.

The Estrada administration took a different approach: government sought to focus assistance to the 100 poorest families in each province and city, with the local governments tasked to identify them. With little data on which to base the selection, it took two years for the LGUs to finally come up with their lists; by then, a new administration had taken over.

The Arroyo administration took yet another approach to targeting, as exemplified in its Food-for-School and Tindahan Natin Programs (FSP and TNP respectively). Government has devised a Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information Mapping System (FIVIMS) that identifies very, very vulnerable (VVV), very vulnerable (VV) and vulnerable (V) LGUs. All 17 towns and cities in Metro Manila are included as target areas regardless of vulnerability level, for clearly political reasons. For FSP, all VVV municipalities are also automatically included, along with the poorest municipalities in VV and V provinces. For TNP, locations of stores were based on a rapid poverty mapping done by DSWD, focused on prevalence of malnutrition and lack of rice supply.

Unfortunately, our track record at targeting the poor has been downright dismal. Studies by Dr. Rosario Manasan and by Dr. Celia Reyes of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) have measured leakage rates (percentage of non-poor beneficiaries) and undercoverage rates (percentage of the poor who do not benefit) of the above targeting mechanisms. Results show that more than half of the recipients of the targeted assistance are actually non-poor, with leakage rates of 62 percent for FSP and 66 percent for TNP. Undercoverage of FSP was estimated at 80 percent, i.e. only one-fifth of total target beneficiaries are assisted by the program.

Interestingly, Metro Manila accounts for the bulk (71 percent) of the leakages in FSP. Similarly, the leakage rate for TNP declines from 66 to 59 percent if Metro Manila stores are not counted. Substantial leakages in targeted assistance is the price government has been paying for buying political support from the more visible and more vocal constituencies in Metro Manila through their indiscriminate inclusion in targeted assistance programs.

Vulnerability, incidentally, seemed a very good criteria, it’s a concept that’s been adopted by the International Red Cross, for example: Red Cross efforts are supposed to focus on vulnerable populations and individuals, not just in times of disaster, but in general.

The failure of the various government programs to target the poor, however, boggles the mind, in that it shows how trying to take a scientific approach can easily be subverted by human behavior -or “gaming the system” as it’s been called.

The Mount Balutacan Monitor points to a report that the provincial government in Misamis Oriental is in shock because a massive shipyard project has croaked.

My column for today is Senate swindled?

The thing is, I’ve only encountered the Pimentel resolution in bits and pieces online. It’s not on the Senate site. It’s not in the news sites. So a thorough review of what the bill contains is impossible.

For background see Federalism gets majority backing in Senate and 16 senators now back Pimentel’s shift to federalism. Background in Newsbreak’s In a surprise move, senators give qualified yes to charter debate. which also gives a digest of the Senate’s proposed changes to the Constitution:

The resolution will require the revision of 14 of the existing 18 Articles of the Constitution and the addition of two new articles. It seeks to adopt a federal presidential bicameral form of government.

Specifically, it calls for the creation of 11 federal states out of the existing political subdivisions of the country and one federal administration region.

It seeks the transfer of the legislative department to the proposed Federal State of Central Visayas, the judicial department to the Federal State of Northern Luzon while maintaining the executive department in the proposed Federal Administrative Region of Metro Manila…

…Other major proposals: the election of senators based on states; the election of senators representing overseas voters; the election of the president and the vice-president as a team; the abolition of the Judicial and Bar Council which screens nominees to the judiciary etc.

Blog @ AWBHoldings.com asks who is afraid of Federalism, and engages in counting potential votes (and potential opportunities for double-crosses in the voting), and he points to the whole subject of constitutional amendments being viewed as a Trojan horse.

Who else is critical of Federalism? Senator Arroyo is against it, and his argument is one shared by quite a few people, too: Federalism to create ’11 little fiefdoms, 11 little kings’.

For the thinking behind Pimentel’s proposal, blogger reytrillana reproduces a recent speech in which Pimentel explains why he supports Federalism. Blogger A Simple Life supports a serious examination of Federalism but thinks the current proposal provides for too many states:

One thing of concern though, is that 11 states plus one administrative region I think, is just a bit too many. Seven (7) states and an administrative region would be better, i.e., feasible and sustainable:

1. Northern Luzon (Ilocos, CAR, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon)

2. Southern Luzon (CALABARZON, Mindoro, Marinduque, Bicol)

3. Western Visayas (Western Visayas, Romblon, Palawan)

4. Eastern Visayas (Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas)

5. Northern Mindanao (Western Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, CARAGA)

6. Southern Mindanao (Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN)

7. Bangsamoro (ARMM)

8. Federal Administrative Region (NCR)

One stumbling block is the rhetorical attraction (rhetorical, because not precisely factual, as Torn and Frayed has argued; one thing a Federal system does not abolish is a national capital; and one thing Federalism does not remove, is the need for, or authority, of a national government) of being freed of “Imperial Manila” while getting the nagging feeling, on the other hand, that this might be a license not for regional growth, but regional chaos.

That Federalism will only balkanize the country is is indeed a cause for worry; see Francis Fukuyama (China’s powerful weakness: Beijing’s reach isn’t big enough to stop local governments from abusing the rights of ordinary citizens) writing in the Los Angeles Times, on how even strong, unitary states are concerned over the periphery ending up lawless regions.

On a related note, Ian Baruma, in The Last of the Tibetans, takes a look at Tibet and wonders if the Tibetans aren’t going to end up like the American Indians:

The Chinese have much to answer for, but the fate of Tibet is not just a matter of semi-colonial oppression. It is often forgotten that many Tibetans, especially educated people in the larger towns, were so keen to modernize their society in the mid-twentieth century that they saw the Chinese Communists as allies against rule by holy monks and serf-owning landlords. In the early 1950’s, the young Dalai Lama himself was impressed by Chinese reforms and wrote poems praising Chairman Mao.

Alas, instead of reforming Tibetan society and culture, the Chinese Communists ended up wrecking it. Religion was crushed in the name of official Marxist atheism. Monasteries and temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (often with the help of Tibetan Red Guards). Nomads were forced to live in ugly concrete settlements. Tibetan arts were frozen into folkloric emblems of an officially promoted “minority culture.” And the Dalai Lama and his entourage were forced to flee to India.

None of this was peculiar to Tibet. The wrecking of tradition and forced cultural regimentation took place everywhere in China. In some respects, the Tibetans were treated less ruthlessly than the majority of Chinese. Nor was the challenge to Tibetan uniqueness typical of the Communists. General Chiang Kai-shek declared in 1946 that the Tibetans were Chinese, and he certainly would not have granted them independence if his Nationalists had won the civil war.

If Tibetan Buddhism was severely damaged, Chinese Communism has barely survived the ravages of the twentieth century, either. But capitalist development has been even more devastating to Tibetan tradition. Like many modern imperialist powers, China claims legitimacy for its policies by pointing to their material benefits. After decades of destruction and neglect, Tibet has benefited from enormous amounts of Chinese money and energy to modernize the country. The Tibetans cannot complain that they have been left behind in China’s transformation from a Third World wreck to a marvel of supercharged urban development.

But the price in Tibet has been higher than elsewhere. Regional identity, cultural diversity, and traditional arts and customs have been buried under concrete, steel, and glass all over China. And all Chinese are gasping in the same polluted air. But at least the Han Chinese can feel pride in the revival of their national fortunes. They can bask in the resurgence of Chinese power and material wealth. The Tibetans, by contrast, can share this feeling only to the extent that they become fully Chinese. If not, they can only lament the loss of their own identity.

The Chinese have exported their version of modern development to Tibet not only in terms of architecture and infrastructure, but also people — wave after wave of them: businessmen from Sichuan, prostitutes from Hunan, technocrats from Beijing, party officials from Shanghai, and shopkeepers from Yunnan. The majority of Lhasa’s population today is no longer Tibetan. Most people in rural areas are Tibetan, but their way of life is not likely to survive Chinese modernization any more than the Apaches’ way of life survived in the United States.

Since Chinese is the language of instruction at Tibetan schools and universities, anyone who wishes to be more than a poor peasant, beggar, or seller of trinkets must conform to Chinese norms, that is, become Chinese. Even Tibetan intellectuals who want to study their own classical literature must do so in Chinese translation. Meanwhile, Chinese and other foreign tourists dress up in traditional Tibetan dress to have their souvenir pictures taken in front of the Dalai Lama’s old palace.

Baruma’s article, while focusing on Tibet, basically lists the grievances and concerns that have convinced some people to advocate Federalism.

In Federalism Today, which dates back to 2002, Ronald Watts tackled the question: why the Federal appeal?

To what can this increased interest in federalism be attributed? One major factor has been the recognition that an increasingly global economy has unleashed centrifugal economic political forces weakening the traditional nation-state and strengthening both international and local pressures. As a result national governments are faced increasingly with the desires of their populaces to be both global consumers and local self-governing citizens at the same time. Thus, the nation state is at the same time proving both too small and too large to serve the desires of its citizens.

These developments have contributed to the current interest in federalism, not as an ideology, but in terms of practical questions about how to organize the sharing and distribution of political powers in a way that will enable the common needs of people to be achieved while accommodating the diversity of their circumstances and preferences.

The lessons proposed are interesting, too:

Experience since 1945 has taught us three major lessons. First, federal political systems do provide a practical way of combining, through representative institutions, the benefits of unity and diversity, but they are no panacea for all of humanity’s political ills. Second, the degree to which a federal political system can be effective will depend upon the extent to which there is acceptance of the need to respect constitutional norms and structures and upon an emphasis on the spirit of tolerance and compromise. Third, effectiveness also depends upon whether the particular form or variant of federal system that is adopted or evolved gives adequate expression to the demands and requirements of the particular society in question.

It seems to me many interested in Federalism like it because Federalism is a Solution to Resolve Ethnic Conflict, as Ellis Katz suggests. On the other hand, there’s Federalism as a means to more equitably distribute national resources. See the abstract of Fiscal Federalism and National Unity.

In particular, Spain seems to be a model for approaching Federalism from the point of view of finance, see Fiscal federalism and regional integration: lessons from Spain and the more complex Public Spending and Fiscal Federalism in Spain. Period 1984-1998. Spanish concerns over Federalism are reported by Giles Tremlett in a 2005 article. Spain is an interesting example because of the difficulties the Spaniards faced after the demise of Generalissimo Franco: how do you turn a feudal society into a functioning, modern democracy? See Federalism and the State of the Autonomies in Spain:

After 39 years of dictatorship (1936-1975), the death of General Franco offered Spain an immense opportunity to rebuild its institutions and create a system of government where the diversity of cultures was not an impediment to the reintroduction of democracy. It is with the Constitution of 1978 that this country ended the ancient discussion about the form of State that would better ensure governance and opened the path to the creation of the State of the Autonomies.

Incidentally, if anyone can help me get a copy of Democracy and Federalism in Spain (see this abstract, too). as well as Mexican Federalism Revisited, and Federalism and Caudillismo in the Mexican Revolution: The Genesis of the Oaxaca Sovereignty Movement (1915-20), I’d highly appreciate it.

Mon Casiple simply thinks the Senate proposal is a gambit to derail a Palace initiative -and that the gambit’s worked.

Meanwhile, my column also looks at the President’s plans to overhaul her cabinet; RG Cruz says the President’s become rather flirtatious about the whole thing. Mad Miriam weighs in, too: New Cabinet to be 2010 admin senatorial slate–Sen Santiago. The scuttlebutt for some time now has focused those waiting in the wings for appointments – includingRalph Recto, Tessie Aquino-Oreta (said to have already completed her Department of Education lineup of appointments) and Vicente Sotto III.

In the blogosphere, on an overseas political note, BuzzMachine looks at Democrats engaged in a schism in a top American political blog. In Malaysia, as you know Jeff Ooi is the first Malaysian blogger (Screenshots) to become an MP. He takes a frustrated -but highly humorous- look at parliamentary procedure in Speaker (Sabah): ‘No supplementary questions during Q&A today’.

And on a cultural note, see Why I Gave Up Blogs To Read More Books by Coconut Headsets.

And listmania! An ongoing list-making process has missingpoints weighs in with his votes for The Top 100 Public Intellectuals , but has a bone to pick with whoever put Al Gore on the list:

Meanwhile, Al Gore needs to be off the list. He is a politician and a popularizer of a cause but it isn’t his ideas being discussed. Being a public intellectual means having thoughts that are original enough to influence lesser people’s thoughts. If agreeing with experts and promoting their ideas is public intellectualism, half the people with blogs can qualify.

Indeed, there is The dilemma of defining a Public Intellectual as blogger gov4sale dissects the question,

The best example comes from Alan Lightman in his article “The role of public intellectuals”

Lightman bring the example of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his essay “The American Scholar” in this essay Emerson describes the meaning and the function of the intellectual.

In this essay Emerson describes the intellectual as “preserves great idea of the past communicates them and creates new ideas. The intellectual does all of these things not out of obligation to his society, but out of obligation to himself.”

The idea of the intellectual that is described by Emerson feels more of a noble idea, but a very true one, what Emerson describe as an intellectual is by far the most tangible idea ever.

To add to the above notion but with a more political character Edward Said describes “the intellectual’s mission in life is to advance human freedom and knowledge, this often means standing outside of society and its institutions and actively disturbing the status quo.”

With these two ideas combine together we draw a very distinct picture of what a public intellectual is, although some may disagree with this idea.

Lightman also bring a hierarchy of levels of public intellectuals

-level one: speaking and writing for the public exclusively about his/her discipline, example Brian Green’s book The Elegant Universe.

-level two: speaking and writing about his/her discipline and how it relates to the social, cultural, and political world around it, example James Watson’s the Double Helix.

-Level three: by invitation only. The intellectual has become elevated to a symbol, a person that stands for something far larger than the discipline from which he or she originated. According to Lightman these intellectuals is asked to write and speak about a large range of public issues. Example Einstein was asked to give public addresses on religion, education, ethics and world politics.

The Daily Telegraph unveils The 50 most influential US political pundits. The Debatable Land starts a survey on American Presidents: who are the most over-rated and the most under-rated? (On a personal note, can anyone help me turn this, into something more like this, without breaking the bank?)

We like lists because we instinctively want to classify everything see how Time Magazine did so in this year’s The World’s Most Influential People. But after that, we want to rank things. With regards to the Time 100, Joel Stein threw caution to the winds to try to cobble together a formula: then someone said he should refine it, which he did.

For The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008, a thorough effort to define criteria’s been undertaken by Can Talk Tech but what is a solid criteria for him may differ from the way other people approach the same task.

Let me weigh in with my list. Let me begin with a caveat: there are quite a few blogs I’ve added to my reading list over the past year, but they’re not new enough (cut-off is a blog birthday after July 1, 2007) to qualify for the list. These blogs are in no particular order. They represent my biases as to what I consider significant and these choices aren’t necessarily endorsements of these blogs, their advocacies, etc. Though for many of these blogs, I do heartily sympathize with them, which is why I follow them -but not all.

Update, July 30, 2010. I have changed some of my nominations, my final list is as follows:

1. Writer’s Block which is a fine example of intellectual efforts by a writer online.

2. The Mount Balatucan Monitor one of the regional blogs that makes inter-regional cross-pollination possible.

3.Since scaRRed_cat seems no longer updated, and though a good example of a veteran journalist trying to adapt to sharing articles online, I’ve decided to nominate fritzified.com instead. A wholesome combination of lifestyle, food, gadgetry, even fashion, but written from an intelligent point of view and not just flashy superficiality.

4. Mon Casiple’s Weblog on Philippine Politics. The finest example of an old school pundit settling in on the interweb.

5. I’d previously nominated Brian Gorrell’s The Not So Talented Mr. Montano? If Malou Fernandez was the Affair of the Diamond Necklace (complete with a mystery: she flew coach), then the birth of this blog was the Bastille moment of the Philippine blogosphere. His recent decision to start outing people, though, is reprehensible. His other motives and postings can be debated but his outing people, well, I don’t know. For that reason, I nominate At Midfield, instead. Ging Gagelonia is a journalist who broke new ground through his reportage and commentary in the blogosphere on the Sulpicio lines sinking.

6. New Philippine Revolution, an intriguing blog and one that I think has a covert following among the politically-inclined. Also, an example of how anonymous blogging can be effective.

7. Vera Files. Had a discussion on Twitter if this counts as a blog or not, but Juned Sonido opined it does. If so, it marks the emergence of what could comprise the Big Three in independent journalism online.

8. Ateneans ACT, which became a forum for advocacy and debate among the alumni of one school, and which served as a model for advocacy and inter-generational debate, lost its steam. While this site marks the evolution and, to my mind, coming of age of the political advocacy blog, I have decided to nominate stuart-santiago instead. Seems to me male bloggers still dominate and hers is a voice of rationality and questioning that bears following.

9. Team RP, particularly because it’s on Multiply and there seems to be a lingering bias of sorts I can’t quite pin down, but it seems to be there, against Multiply/Friendster etc. blogs. This blog is significant because it’s wedded to an advocacy site, and it’s an advocacy led by, and targeted at, the youth, which conventional wisdom tagged as apathetic -but who proved the pundits wrong after NBN-ZTE broke. The kids were just waiting for an issue that really engrossed them.

10. I’m not sure if FilipinoVoices.com counts, because it’s composed of veteran bloggers and commenters, but, well, it’s new and is making ripples, if not waves.

You may be interested to read the choices of Filipinayzd, atheista (campaigning, actually, for Visit Sagada), Viloria.net, SELaplana, My First One Million Pesos, and Mapiles.com, Tingog.com and Shari.

Elsewhere in blogolandia, The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile takes a look at the hostility and patronizing attitude he believes afflicts many journalists; a relevant reading’s John Nery’s Barbarians at the gates? And see The Race: Newspapers have a bright future as print-digital hybrids after all - but they’d better hurry, in the Columbia Journalism Review (thanks to Hector Bryant Macayle for the link). The Marocharim Experiment has a thought-provoking entry on media-blogger issues.

Hiraya: Endless Journey takes a meta-look at blogging.

Adel Tamano takes up blogging at The Opposite of Apathy.

160 comments

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    • UP n student on May 2, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    A statistical view of the poor road-infrastructure of the Philippines:

    Kilometers of paved Roads per thousand-sq-KM of land-area
    0.110 – Thailand
    0.129 – Vietnam
    0.067 – Pinas
    0.117 – Indonesia

    France has 1.485km paved-road per thousand-sq-KM.

    • justice league on May 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Leytenian,

    Your statement-“Our current system of ” it’s always been that way” has been practicing the monopolistic type of power. It has no flexibility except micromanaging. Decentralization of power may be necessary to delegate and share the tasks to others.” with regards to “approves or disapprove budget” requires proof. I suggest you come with it already.

    With regards your statement “Miami makes more money than Philippines and yet it only runs by a mayor.”; do you mean that you don’t advocate that the individual states elect their own governor/premier?

    Based on the Miami city charter, they have a city manager whose tasks include the following:
    (a) See that the laws and ordinances are enforced.
    (b) Appoint and remove ……
    (c) Exercise control over all departments and divisions created herein or that may be hereafter created by the city commission.
    d) Attend all meetings of the city commission …..
    (e) Recommend to the mayor and city commission ….
    (f) Keep the mayor and city commission fully advised….
    (g) Perform such other duties …..

    Are you sure Miami is only run by a mayor?

    With regards to your statement that “Philippines is not a Nation.”; the first article of the Philippine Constitution doesn’t bear you out as it describes the “National territory”.

    Oh yes, you’re going to be changing the Charter so you’re going to be changing that to reflect your view, right?

    In response to the query on the “abolition of the individual provincial legislatures” you responded with “If expenses exceed revenue, yes.”

    So in other words some states will have individual provinces with their own legislature while other states will have no provincial legislatures for their provinces.

    And since answer on State legislature is also dependent on economy; then there will be states with neither of both provincial and state legislatures.

    Regarding your statement “The only constant thing in this world is Change. Changes of our Constitution requires revisiting …”; oh yes but it doesn’t necessarily mean a shift to a Federal form of government.

    For one, maybe an amendment to the antidynasty provision is worthwhile wherein it will be self-executing and no longer dependent on a law from Congress that is not even forthcoming.

    “I might have to agree with Benigno in this case when h made comments “kawawa nga ang pinoy” and “vacuous minds”.”- I suggest you DON’T use such words in reference to me ever again.

    • leytenian on May 2, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Justice league,

    “For one, maybe an amendment to the antidynasty provision is worthwhile wherein it will be self-executing and no longer dependent on a law from Congress that is not even forthcoming.”

    true.. i would also go for that. Too many conflict of interest exist in our current system. Sons and daughters must run outside of their father’s or relatives jurisdiction. They have to take the boat and become a resident of another island to avoid this conflict. What i’m trying to imply is really to find a solution to our current situation. it’s always been that way.when are things going to get better. What policies and role model system are we going to follow? Federalism is an option. An option is better than waiting for things to happen.

    In terms of “kawawang pinoy” it was not intended to you. sorry.. it was for us the majority that until now, we have no options.

    • UP n student on May 2, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    to MrG: Instead of Federalism, you should just work on seceding. Of course, it means you will have to form your own army, but the project to identify your own flag should be job-generating!!!! Also think of the number of congressmen you can have for the Country of Cebu! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! 😛

    The real “money” — a Cebu-country will have its own ambassador to the United Nations (and to Japan, Thailand, Australia, Russia, the Vatican, China, Indonesia, Vietnam) plus consuls to San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, all to funded by taxes paid by the citizens of Cebu.

    And every so many years, you will send your own sports delegation to the Olympics — again, funded by taxes paid by the citizens of Cebu.

    All such things to be funded from taxes paid by the citizens of Cebu. 😐

    • supremo on May 2, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    MrG,

    Make sure the future nation of Cebu has enough money to buy drinking water from the other islands.

    • UP n student on May 3, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Again, to MrG: Your WebSite does not identify who are the members of your motley group. Such a list of names will be helpful.

    • justice league on May 3, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Leytenian,

    I realize Ca t is quite able to defend herself.

    I have an inkling that she’s going to tell you when credit card companies are allowed to charge your 8-24%.

    If you reason out to her further on your answer regarding leaders; the query on provincial and state legislatures might just come back to you.

    “What policies and role model system are we going to follow? Federalism is an option.”- Between Federalism and the current one; I’m sticking with the current one.

    “In terms of “kawawang pinoy” it was not intended to you. sorry.. it was for us the majority that until now, we have no options.” Well I don’t necessarily agree with the description of the majority but I’m a little intrigued that you didn’t retract the “vacuous minds” part. But I’m going to let that pass this instance.

    • justice league on May 3, 2008 at 2:06 am

    MrG,

    My post to Liam Tinio on May 2 at 3:33 PM; I also now extend to you.

    Your primer claims that “The immediate effect of Federalization is a wider distribution of national resources.” What exactly does that mean?

    • supremo on May 3, 2008 at 2:28 am

    ARMM is the closing thing that the Philippines has to a federal setup. Everyone should look at ARMM very closely.

    From Wikipedia:
    ‘Despite its “autonomous” nature, the ARMM receives approximately 98% of its operating revenue from the National Government of the Philippines, and has yet to create significant, viable sources of additional revenue. Perhaps for this reason, the per capita spending on such vital services as education and infrastructure are among the lowest in the Philippines, and the five provinces of the ARMM continue to be ranked consistently on the lower rungs of economic development within the country. The per student expenditure on education, for example, is less than $100, with the result that students within ARMM schools generally score poorly, in comparison with other provinces, on standardized achievement tests administered throughout the country.’

    • Diego Silang on May 3, 2008 at 2:43 am

    @ Mr. G,

    The Cebuanos cannot be doing this. After all, your politicians have been the teacher’s pets: Garcias, Cuencos, etc. Cebu has been favored by this administration. Are the former Osmena senators behind your motley group?

    That reminds me, I have to travel this weekend to my province and incite a long-delayed state of Ilocos-lovakia.

  1. i understand. i was referring to non performing leaders. We don’t have enough revenue to pay them salaries. It’s unsustainable.

    now it is non-performing leaders? ano ba talaga ang gusto mong palabasin?

    Your previous statements are already no-brainer.

    1. Miami makes more money than Philippines
    what’s the basis? What do you mean by money? cities do not make money. They generate revenues thru taxes. that’s why i have to mention two sources of revenues of the states, the federal taxes and state income taxes.

    2. and yet it only runs by a mayor. the mayor is under the governor. The state has two congressmen to represent it and its own legislature–the legislature elects the senator that will represent the state.

    See how naive you are?

    3. Hawaii is a State and yet it makes more revenue than the whole Philippines.

    Really. what revenue are you referring to? the GDP? the tax revenue. Are millions, bigger than billions?

    See how clueless you are?

    Philippines is as big as Florida and yet it is an independent state not nation run by few people.

    last time I know Florida is still a part of the United States since 1821 with a governor as chief executive of the government with rwo florida Senators, to represent it in the US Senate and 25 rperesentatives for its legislature.

    What few people are you talking about?

    The province in the Philippines has also a governor, the cities have mayors and districts have congressmen and regions have senators.

    • Bencard on May 3, 2008 at 3:19 am

    at this stage of political maturation of filipinos in general, i don’t think it’s ready for federalism. just because the system works in other societies is no guarantee that it would in the philippines. the age-old regional/ethnic rivalries and prejudices are still in play, albeit hibernating momentarily after centuries of centralized governance (both independently and under colonial rule). i think it would be easier for the filipinos to achieve national unity under one centralized government than to march to the sounds of different drums, each drummer competing for political supremacy.

    the present set up needs a lot of improvements and reform. it needs fixing, not complete replacement. federalism cannot change wrong attitudes, bad habits, apathy, cynicism, opportunism, warped sense of values, greed, lack of sense of nationhood and patriotism. it cannot prevent abuse of power, graft and corruption, political dynastyism, cronyism, and misuse of the country’s resources.

    switching to federal system is a simplistic solution to the countries myriad of problems. it is akin to pinoy’s penchant for creating new bureaucracy when the existing one runs into trouble, or becomes unpopular, or to deliver a promised patronage.

  2. let me ask this questions? what policies should our government must have in order for our economy to grow. Think of financial transactions. Cash flow ,i mean.

    are u sure you want to talk to me about finance?

    you who cannot distinguish revenue from a cash flow.

    credit cards are nor sources of revenues honey and financial transactions do not mean cash flow all the time.

    Nagsisimula ka palang bang matuto ng finance o overhwhelmed ka lang sa mga bagong information natutuhan mo?

    I do not even know what you mean by the financial data that Lito lapid should know.

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 6:06 am

    “at this stage of political maturation of filipinos in general, i don’t think it’s ready for federalism.”

    agree, i can even tell even at this site. good day.

    • justice league on May 3, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Leytenian,

    “agree, i can even tell even at this site.”

    I hope you considered there the inability of its proponents to defend the idea.

    • hvrds on May 3, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Why Chavit, Bayani or some from Mindanao/Visayas should call a referendum for breaking off from the central government.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080502/wl_mcclatchy/2928005

    Bolivia’s richest province seeks autonomy, raising fear of political crisis By Boris Heger and Jack Chang, McClatchy Newspapers
    Fri May 2, 4:58 PM ET

    SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA , Bolivia — This divided country faces a constitutional crisis Sunday when its richest and second most-populous province votes whether to declare itself autonomous from President Evo Morales’s national government, a referendum the president has called illegal.

    • MrG on May 3, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I asked for comments and certainly got a handful. Our SEC registration papers have just been released and the same shall be posted on the web site; for those that are interested.

    There is no Senator or Congressman that has had a hand in organizing us.

    All comments made shall be properly answered at our web site. This would give our members an idea of the kind of task at hand to be able to sell the Federal idea and how to handle the negative reactions.

    Quixotic? Perhaps, but our collective action is the best we are able to come up with in the face of the poor governance record of our country.

    Yes, we talk…. and also take action.

    Thank you for your comments.

    • MrG on May 3, 2008 at 10:45 am

    We have been called a “damaged culture”. We are no different from other people living elsewhere on this planet. However, our history, replete with subjugation by more advance cultures has really left a collective and perhaps unconcious imprint on our psyche.

    Just consider the maniacal behavior of a driver in the streets of Manila. The same driver is instantly transformed as soon as he enters the gates of the former US base in Clark. Instantly, he knows what the “THRU” street sign means and follows its implications. But, the reverse happens the moment he speeds out of the Clark gates.

    Romy Neri, with all his academic credentials, is reduced into a yellow-tailed advocate in the face of organized corruption. Jun Lozada and his family’s hopes for a bright future are now jeopardized because he has tried to buck the system at the instance of his friend. He almost lost his life while his friend choose the comforts of hiding behind the executive privilege skirt.

    Federalism is our solution to the massive and endemic corruption of the current over-centralized form of government. No to corruption – yes, to structural change!

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 11:41 am

    MRG,

    It seems to me that this new autonomy propose by the Visayan is just another copycat of the current Constitution. It may not be to our advantage. It may be just another “mini me” with policies of no clear financial transactions and the same vote buying during elections.

    I would suggest posting clarification of such proposition. A projected income Statement of 1 year, 3 years , 10 years and 20 years must be uploaded on the website. Actual breakdown of revenue and costs not percentage will provide a clear picture of the overall economic plan. No percentage is acceptable like what Pimentel is proposing. This is where people can steal money.
    If losses are in high probability, where will the Visayans borrow money to sustain? What would be our collateral if we borrow? What are our assets and current debts? It might end up like Gloria, using spratly’s to borrow money from China. I hope we will not use Limasawa island off of leyte. Or we might borrow from Imelda.

    A clear presentation of financial proposals should be made public. I’m not concerned about employment. I do agree that Cebu is very progressive, Bohol is attracting more tourists. Surigao is considered the Surfing capital of Asia. Leyte supplies most of the Visayan Electric Power; Cagayan Valley has the highest employment rate. The Visayan has been able to sustain. It has been planning and ready for a change as well as Mindanao.
    Here’s employment statistics: you might need this for motivation.
    Across regions, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had the highest employment rate (97.6%), followed by Cagayan Valley (96.5%) and Cordillera Administrative Region (96.0%). The National Capital Region recorded the lowest employment rate at 87.5 percent. http://www.census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2008/lf0801tx.html.

    Note: It also does not mean that if I date Juan I will marry Juan. good luck.

    • Bencard on May 3, 2008 at 11:53 am

    MrG, the jews have been subjugated countless times by dominant “cultures” culminating in their dispersal all over the globe. with meager resources, they came back to reclaim their home strong as they could ever be evidently with none of the negative “imprint” on their psyche. i don’t know whose bright idea is this “damaged culture” theory but i really think it’s nothing but a cop-out, a puny attempt at palusot.

    how can federalism be a solution to “endemic corruption”? you cannot transform people through “structural change”. neither can you make people behave like the americans (for instance) by copying their system of governance. you cannot change hell by calling it paradise.

    • hvrds on May 3, 2008 at 11:56 am

    “Federalism is our solution to the massive and endemic corruption of the current over-centralized form of government. No to corruption – yes, to structural change!”

    You cannot decentralize the powers of a weak state as the effects of that weak state (NCR) is essentially living off the resource base of the other areas of the state. The central government is an evolved neo-colonial state. It is dependent on foreign capital (just like colonial times) and now the export of cheap crude produce and humans.

    The only difference is the export of human resource that is keeping the so called state afloat.

    The total public sector debt plus the contingent debt will insure that the centar will continue to dominate.

    Please note that most of the debt was used to sustain the center and not the whole.

    The major provinces should simply say enough and break off. it is silly to depend on the center for your IRA.

    That comes from the value added of your people in your areas.

    Capital or that is monetary capital comes from labor value added and not the state.

    Start from the basics and work yourself up. The center is simply a big sucking machine. Destroy it.

    Even if you have to establish feudal states that is okay. It will match the culture. But make sure the power is used to create and turn peasants/fisherfolk into farmers and into productive labor.

    The idea of teaching a man to fish and giving him a fishing rod is the states responsibility to build the entire system and structure for productive labor to flourish and prosper.

    The more mature economies of the world used the industrial revolution to industrialize their productive capacities in the countryside that was already ready for the rapid use of mechanization and technology. It was a tortuos process but the state made it happen.

    Simply leaving it alone and just depending on the so called market is the game for the rich and powerfull countries who turned the ideas of markets into an ideology that they sold to the ignorant.

    Building is a step by step process and we have to build the ladder first before we start climbing up the same.

    Kailangan pa pala na may sapat na pagkain ang tao hindi ba?

    Tignan mo naman si Art Yap, gustong niyang ipagupahan ang lupa ng Pinas sa mag Instik para sa kanilang mamamayan at puede naman tayong magimport galing sa ibang bansa. Puede niyang idefensa yan kasi abogado siya.

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    The pressure is on to our current administration. It is time for this administration to act and set a clear policies for the benefit of the people. I may not blame the visayas or mindanao. The role model is indeed a role model for another long term economic problem. This is no longer sustainable. The pressure is ON. Let’s see what’s next.

    • jakcast on May 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    @ leytenian

    What pressure? Political analysts say this is a just a gambit to pre-empt Malacanang’s own version of charter change.

    And I agree. Do you think those senators waiting to be president (Lacson, Roxas, Villar, Leagrada, etc) and vice president (Cayetano, Escudero, etc) will allow a shift to a federal system and dilute their grand ambitions.

    These are astute politicans, my man. Nakikalaro lang sila kay Senator Pimentel. “Kami na naman” and then papalitan yung systema. Ba, hindi tama yan.

    And the palace knows this.

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    jakcast,

    then those name mentions should not be one of our president. I cannot trust any of them. they are all the same, benefiting the current system.

    MRG,

    sorry to say the website is not very professional. the pictures of the members are not professionals. ” murag dili man kasaligan.” i cannot trust their faces..sorry.
    I need to be convinced. More budgets for promotion and marketing is highly recommended. A makeover of all the pictures…get a professional website designer. Why just structural change… how do you stop corruption?

    • BrianB on May 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    There is no argument that some states will be better off in a Federalism, especially their politicians. Pols who have no chance to win a national are more likely to support Federalism. Cosmopolitan pols, like Joker, naturally finds the idea distasteful. What is important is not what pols think. The last thing we want is to let them spearhead any major changes in government. Let them practice fiscal restraint, let them remove pork barrel. That’s what they can do and they are not doing it. Major changes such as shifting to parliamentary or a federal form of government should be put in the hands of the same people that “scribbled” the 1987 Constitution. Does this sound tempting to anybody?

    • KG on May 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Leytenian,
    Please don’t get me wrong…like in boxing sometimes it is better to stay down when knocked down.

    I woulkd like to agree with almost everything that BrianB said. Like we are bored with the present setup,the elimination porkbarrel,etc.About the constitutional commission with members of the past concom crafting the new one ;as long as they won’t make it as reactionary to the past as to what they did in 1987,where they just bulldozed the 1973 constitution,by removing even the good parts.

    Now on the commenter to allow trial and error and learn from experience,kahit na plantsado na ,napagdebatihan na,nakapagplebiscite na ,sa trial and error pa din ang bagsak nito.

    I saw only the Cebu stand on Federalism,I was waiting for the Mindanao side dahil para sa Mindanao conflict daw ito.

    We still do not know how would they propose to uplift the poor provinces,will piggy back with rich neighbor province in the same sate,solve that?
    Lots of questions that only trial and error can answer:Will we finally do away with porkbarrel?Will it exacerbate the regional animosity?Will it promote civil war?(where did that come from?)And lastly, will it solve the Minadanao conflict?

  3. Federalism is a bad bad idea.

    Federal governments were first independent states before they agreed to form a federation. The direction is from separate units to one whole; tendency is towards integration Pimentel and company are proposing to create states from one small nation. The direction is reverse: from one whole to separate units; tendency is toward disintegration.

    And why eleven, not twelve states, thirteen? Sus, pagkaliit-liit ng Pilipinas hinatihati pa lalo. Gusto yata gawing bopis.

  4. Break up the monopoly of the oligarchs to multiply economic opportunities not break up the republic to multiply political opportunities. In the absence of widespread economic opportunities, there is disunity. Who is otherwise a CEO of a conglomerate, he would be a state official sucking the blood out of the national coffer.

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Hi KB,
    “Will we finally do away with porkbarrel?”

    we can do away pork barrel with the current administration if we would like to. with the new state, it MIGHT start with a pork. sound’s like Cebu is wanting their money back. when customer is not happy of what they are paying ( revenue generated to the whole economy), the tendency is to complain, retaliate and be against it. Cebu thinks they are submmiting too much money to our Central funds and release of funds is being delayed. And cebu is experience enough to sustain. that’s why they want structural change.

    Will it exacerbate the regional animosity?
    it may or may not but policies, such as rules and regulations, sanctions and penalties will prevent this risk to happen. Legal aspects/ written contracts must be implemented to prevent conflict to happen.

    Will it promote civil war?(where did that come from?)
    maybe not, we filipinos have been in war, a war within.
    i think there will be negotiations.

    And lastly, will it solve the Minadanao conflict?: maybe, it really depends how our policies will be made. there might be a different set up for mindanao but this type of information will be privilege information. lol. yes,Mindanao is high risk for riots.

    Administration must have accessed to financial transactions for each state- federalism. It can freeze funds if war is possible, penalties for non performance and anything that put us all in danger. again, contracts and legal aspect type of policies must also accompany every new policies just in case this option is taken.

  5. Let me insert:

    In the absence of widespread economic opportunities, there is disunity as people quarrel of the little that is left. He who would be a manager/supervisor of a business firm sees opportunity in becoming a mayor instead…

    • UP n student on May 3, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    To MrG: You should put on your website these ricelander words:

    Break up the monopoly of the oligarchs to multiply economic opportunities not break up the republic to multiply political opportunities.

    • UP n student on May 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Federalism is the search for economies of scale; many independent units organizing into one to benefit each other. One would think that if there majority-agreemtnt among the congressmen/senators that there is inequitable distribution of revenue from the income tax, then there will be at least one BILL offered to remedy this situation.

    And I thought mlq3 had complained once that the Executive Department’s powers over the provinces has waned (as evidenced by many individual provinces saying that they will NOT send rice to metro-Manila).

    Federalism is being floated by politicians posturing and maneuvering. [And then, there is cha-cha for parliament.]

    • DevilsAdvc8 on May 3, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    i like federalism. our culture has always been geared towards federalism. let the states run by a bad leader wallow and let the states run by a good leader prosper. we should abolish the lower house altogether and retain the senate.

    • vic on May 3, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Again we as a country started from 12 autonomous, independently governed colonies (10 provinces and 2 territories) and the Original Union started in 1867 with only Four Provinces and Alberta Joined in l905 and Newfoundland as late as l949 and the rest in between. Nunavut the 3rd territory was just a creation of partition of one of the two territories in l999 and joined the same year.

    And Twice Quebec attempted to Get OUT of the Confederation, the second one a close 51% to 49% in favour to stay. The reason why PM Chretien came up with Sponsorship Program to make Quebecois wanted and better off staying in the Union and that Program resulted in Corruption Scandal. The current government declared Quebec now a Nation within a Nation, and whatever that means (same as its designation as Distinct Society, I guess)but the Quebecois like the New Designation and the Separatist Movement in the Province is now not as strong as in the Past.

    So, from 12 (now 13) into One Federal State, so the question why break the ONE into a Dozen or More?
    It’s just like multiplying the current problems now by the same numbers..

    • DevilsAdvc8 on May 3, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    So instead what are the Chinese doing with their hoard of dollars. They are converting it to tangible assets. Primarily are oil, food reserves and strategic metals and resources. What are the rest of the surplus dollar countries doing with theirs- they are building public capital goods -(infrastructure) and investing their hoard in the blue chip companies of the West. They very well realize that their startegic asset in oil is tradable for food resources anytime anyday.

    and wtf are we doing with ours?
    we let our dollar reserves rot in hell until it hits us that the dollar has become utterly useless paper.

    McCain will win the entire thing and the world will be in for more royal screwing. before his presidency is over, the US will kneel before China.

    not to worry, our nation will be no more to care too much about anything else. well, at least not the Philippine Republic as we know it.

    • UP n student on May 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Devils-A says : Let the states run by a bad leader wallow and let the states run by a good leader prosper But federalism is only a partial-solution to this goal. A prosperous-state can still find itself outvoted by the other members of the federation.

    To really do “what-is-mine-is-mine”, a prosperous state has to secede. Having seceded, the prosperous state can secure its borders to prevent people from “no-jobs” provinces from fleeing into the prosperous state.

    • PhilwoSpEditor on May 3, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Let me see…

    @ricelander

    “Break up the monopoly of the oligarchs to multiply economic opportunities not break up the republic to multiply political opportunities. In the absence of widespread economic opportunities, there is disunity.”

    The Oligarchs won’t go down without a fight, not under their little baby puppet named GMA. As I posted above, I more or less agreeing with the federalism proposal, as an option. But I also agree about the fact that federalism is only a structural change and it may not affect the mindset of these various corrupt politicians.

    But how do you propose we do it? How do you propose to multiply economic opportunities without giving an effective measure of autonomy to other regions and cities (Yes, I acknowledge the various methods they’ve created and implemented to lessen this centralization… And yes, I’ve seen what’s it done to some successful cities and other not-so successful areas)?

    @leytenian

    “And lastly, will it solve the Minadanao conflict?: maybe, it really depends how our policies will be made. there might be a different set up for mindanao but this type of information will be privilege information. lol. yes,Mindanao is high risk for riots.”

    We already gave Mindanao a near autonomous state with ARMM.

    Mindanao is not (Please emphasize the not) high risk for riots. I’ve stayed there for 3 years and well, they’re already in many ways self sufficient and peaceful. It seems that you haven’t been there or you keep hearing the bad news there. The best thing we have to do is not to tick them off and help it teach itself to be fully self-sufficient from the finance that it has to siphon from the Nation coffers.

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    “(as evidenced by many individual provinces saying that they will NOT send rice to metro-Manila).”

    sounds like the voices from the provinces have been ignored from the past. what comes around goes around. this type of management in terms of team building and maintaining good relationship has never been established.
    I haven’t seen long term conflict between Luzons and the visayans. Not sure with mindanao, there was history of conflicts. History that our current administration must take consider with careful planning.
    Our Senate is definitely not acting as one. One will shoot the other on the foot or at the back.
    There’s too many of them to manage and too many headaches.

    • leytenian on May 3, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    PhilwoSpEditor :

    “Mindanao is not (Please emphasize the not) high risk for riots. I’ve stayed there for 3 years and well, they’re already in many ways self sufficient and peaceful. It seems that you haven’t been there or you keep hearing the bad news there. The best thing we have to do is not to tick them off and help it teach itself to be fully self-sufficient from the finance that it has to siphon from the Nation coffers.”

    that’s good news. i really wanna hear representation from mindanao. i was basing my opinion according to history. i didn’t mean to discourage them and thanks for the update.

    • jakcast on May 3, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    “But I also agree about the fact that federalism is only a structural change and it may not affect the mindset of these various corrupt politicians.” – PhilwoSpEditor

    Don’t kid yourself that federalism will lessen corruption. At best, it will decentralize corruption; at worst, graft-ridden deals will be made with ignorant, uninformed regional officials, without nary an idea that they’re being screwed left, right, and center. Please revisit Hanjin and SMBA.

    ‘The road to hell is laden with good intentions.’

    • Madonna on May 3, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    My only concession to this federal shade of politics is for the the abolition of the national elections of senators. Make it by region, say two senators out of the 24 from each region. Our regions have been established due to a strong shared history of culture and ethno-linguistic make up of our diverse country. Why tinker with a working structure, when every school age kid to every senior citizen knows where he or she comes or live region-wise or ethno-linguistically?

    The national stature of Senators have also resulted into a perpetual antagony between the Senate and the President. Indeed sometimes Senators act as a fiscalizer and sometimes, a lot of times that is, they merely grandstand. The arrogance and brazeness of Senators can be traced to the fact they have been elected nationally — as the President and Vice PResident — not to say, mounted on as much as an expensive campaign.

    Albeit, I am for the preservation of the Senate because of its strong history and Filipinos have more or less accepted and see it as a political institution. The role of the Senate as prescribed in the 1987 Constitution serves the country well enough.

    Of course, we still need congressmen — that is the essence of representative democracy. But let’s take out their pork barrel and instead pay a handsome monthly salary — the same for the President and all government functionaries (the way Singapore does it) so that graft will be minimized.

    We can do all these via constitutional amendments. But stress on: AT THE RIGHT TUME. When no party or parties will evidently gain from a Cha-Cha exercise.

    But to a full blown federal system — complete with mini legislatures and mini presidents / governors? Idiotic, foolhardy and quixotic!

    • leytenian on May 4, 2008 at 12:18 am

    “But let’s take out their pork barrel and instead pay a handsome monthly salary — the same for the President and all government functionaries (the way Singapore does it) so that graft will be minimized.”

    agree with taking out pork barrel. handsome salary? maybe not. as far as the visayan is concern, they are imcompetent. i will not be worried if they lose their jobs.they already owned commercial buildings, jollibee franchises, and gas stations, and many more.they are already establish so they could care less except fear of losing their wealth ( like unexplained wealth) . i wonder where that money come from. I don’t beleive, it was coming from their hardwork for the people. It was coming from the people’s hardwork.

    • baycas on May 4, 2008 at 2:04 am

    influential blog?

    raja petra’s caliber…

    Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell

    • Madonna on May 4, 2008 at 2:11 am

    leytenian,

    First, tell me where do you think all those wealth of congressmen come from and all their business franchises? Inherited wealth? Sure, some of it and for a few, most of it from inherited wealth. But a lot of the money and continuing source of money comes from the machinery of pork barrel and all the wheeling and dealing they entail. That’s why political clans continue to thrive because they know there’s a lot of moolah to be made.

    Second, do you know how much a congressman, senator or even the president is entitled to earn per month under the law? Let’s say we ditch the pork barrel, who in his right mind would ever want to run for office given a measly sum of P35K and 40K a month given the huge responsibilies?

    If you don’t pay good money, the talented and competent may be attracted to government service due to the prestige or the vanity of it all, but they will never stay. At least give the hopeful politico the chance to earn the equivalent of how much a country manager in the private sector earns, and there will be less reasons for public corruption.

    Say, kindly figure your chicken and egg situation first so you know where to place the issues of competence or making them lose their jobs rationally.

    Our nation has yet to raise to a certain level of unity and patriotism that may be one of the causes of why the country remains poor. Now, to plunk down federalism in the face of this could lead not only to break-up of the republic but to intra-regional competition that will not be healthy or will be humanely equitable, given the current disparaties in the resources and socio-economic status of the regions.

    • leytenian on May 4, 2008 at 4:24 am

    “Let’s say we ditch the pork barrel, who in his right mind would ever want to run for office given a measly sum of P35K and 40K a month given the huge responsibilies? ”

    true.. but i think the president makes 500,000 a month and senators make over 200,000 a month. our mayor in a very small town makes 25,000 month. SK, makes 18000 a month. for a bigger town and city, a mayor maybe makes over 50,000 pesos/ month. they make good money at least for philippine economy plus bonus on corruption. not sure ha.. but that’s what i’ve heard.

    • leytenian on May 4, 2008 at 4:48 am

    you are right, 500,000 pesos a month of salary to the president is very small if it’s the case. a nurse with over 5 years experience in the US can make easy $10,000 a month in california, NY and bigger US cities with or without overtime. an establish filipino doctor can easily make over 700000 up to 1.5 million pesos a month anywhere in the US.

    my point, we might need to remove non performing leaders and pay the remainings higher salary.

  6. The Oligarchs won’t go down without a fight, not under their little baby puppet named GMA. As I posted above, I more or less agreeing with the federalism proposal, as an option. But I also agree about the fact that federalism is only a structural change and it may not affect the mindset of these various corrupt politicians.

    But how do you propose we do it? How do you propose to multiply economic opportunities without giving an effective measure of autonomy to other regions and cities (Yes, I acknowledge the various methods they’ve created and implemented to lessen this centralization… And yes, I’ve seen what’s it done to some successful cities and other not-so successful areas)?

    Let competition in.
    Remove that stupid 40/60 ownership limit on the Constitution. Philippines for Filipinos ring beautifully on the ears but it also serves to preserve the oligarch’s monopoly. For who could provide the 60% to a foreigner’s equity of P1B? A cooperative of Filipino farmers and market vendors? And who will be the “commissioners”, pray tell, who would facilitate the necessary arrangements to conform with the constitutional limit. Ahh, but the oligarchs find allies in the nationalists who see foreign investment as equivalent to loans whose interests we pay with profits they “unduly” derive from their operation by exploiting our resources and labor. So to keep the Philippines for the Filipinos, the government takes the initiative instead to fill in where our native oligarchs would rather not go, take out loans from foreign banks and go to business itself, employ a politician or a relative for its top officials who run the business to the ground then beg the government for subsidy, run it aground again, and so on and so forth…

    • justice league on May 4, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Leytenian,

    I misjudged how someone is going to formulate her answers to your reply.

    Obviously I’m not perfect.

    But still you have persisted with your idea on “leaders” even when I implied to you an idea on your reasoning.

    Maybe its time to ask you if you realize that your idea of removing leaders is by destroying the “office” of such leader.

    In your initial idea; you ended up with only 7 senators and no lower House. What happens then when you feel that 5 senators are non-performing? You’ll destroy the 5 “offices” too and let us end up with only 2 Senators to represent the legislature?

  7. We should have broken up that oligarchy a long time ago but they are a tenacious lot who “won’t go down with a fight”, in your own words, and we are a people who would not want blood in our hands, who would settle for peace at all cost, so this.

    We go land reform, it’s a “peaceful” measure. Too late. Centuries of bondage have robbed him all of his entrepreneural spirit. He saw his father run to the hacendero in times of crisis, he will do the same in his time. Give him land now, feeling orphaned from his traditional benefactor, he would wonder what he’s going to do with it. In a moment of crisis, it’s the land that would go first, sold to the original landlord most likely.

    • leytenian on May 4, 2008 at 9:26 am

    justice league,

    there’s a policy for replacement if performance are not acceptable, of course. for example , if a bank president is fired due to commingling, the vice president will replace. this type of policy will keep our leader performing at his/her highest potential.

    my initial idea of 7 was just to start a discussion. it doesn’t mean that if i date Juan I will marry Juan. good day

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