The Federalist card

The question for some time has been: what rabbit could the President pull out of her hat come State of the Nation Day? After having packed the galleries with local governments supporters, and saying the Constitution had to be changed, could she afford to appear before Congress a year later with the Cha-Cha express in shambles?

Previously, the announcement of a state visit to the new pope, the king of Spain and Qaddafi in Libya, indicated that the SONA theme might be respectability: a year after her troubles, the President could brag she’s the only leader Filipinos trust not to sip from the finger bowl in state functions. Also, up to then, economic figures seemed pretty good.

But it seems that local officials were already seduced into thinking they’d be scott-free in terms of the terms expiring in 2007. And that perhaps other considerations that mattered in July last year (promises of assistance, pork barrel, etc.) matter less so a year later. Whatever the reason (or was it simply all a tactical pause?), the President’s SONA seems poised to be: going great guns for Charter change.

Besides trotting out former President Ramos to show party unity, and involving state colleges and universities in the campaign,  the President is playing a card she’s best poised to play: Federalism. While actions such as proclaiming she’s prepared to re-organize economic planning around super-regions (embryo Federal states in a way) paint the Federal landscape in big, bold strokes, nothing’s definite or sure.

Still, she can go and consult the provinces and by so doing, show how she’s cultivated them more thoroughly and well than the rest of the national leadership. Never mind if students heckled her again.

Amando Doronila puts it bluntly: no prisoners will be taken, and if she wins the referendum, the President is in power until -get this- 2020.

Also, JB Baylon on why people aren’t revolting. Billy Esposo denies that COPA, a group he once belonged to, conspired with the Arroyos to seize the presidency. Jacob Weisberg on how the wealthy die.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

55 thoughts on “The Federalist card

  1. Gloria is frigging lucky she’s only being heckled by students in the Philippines. She can’t even begin to understand how lucky she is that Filipino students are very kind. Elsewhere, students heckle and pester until they bring down the grovernment.

  2. Vic,

    Pardon the ignorance,Is Federalism also practiced in Canada?
    if it is,then kindly explain the benefits.What I know of is the way it is applied in the U.S. but not how it is appled in Canada’s provinces.

  3. Vic,

    Pardon the ignorance,Is Federalism also practiced in Canada?
    if it is,then kindly explain the benefits.What I know of is the way it is applied in the U.S. but not how it is appled in Canada’s provinces.

  4. Oops double entry……

    On Elen’s blog,the firing of the Amabasaador to D.C. was discussed.Then obviously that is GMA’s admission that all is not well in RP.An ambassador is the reflection of the president.if you don’t want you see in the mirror destroy the mirror.Talk about state of the nation.

  5. Yes, Karl we are A Feederal Government. Canada is s confederation of 10 provinces and 3 territories. Each Province has a parliamentary form of government pattern to the Federal Government. Taxes are paid for both government and collected by the federal govt. on behalf of all except for the province of Qebec whichcollect it on her own and also has a separate pension plan. Responsiblities such as health and education, health and most issues are responsibilities of the provincial govt. just like in the U.S. The difference is our Justice system is uniform all over Canada, except in quebec the Civil Law is based from France while the rest is of English commmon law.
    There is the so-called Federal-Provincial Accord where Politicians from both governments will thresh out how much tax money the Federal download to each Provinces according to each other provinces need and shortfall. We call it Equalization payment.
    For town and cities, we have also the Mayor and council which is Paryless and a term of 3 years. The Mayor is contested by popular vote by all voters within the city, while the council member is the candidate with most vote in every district (we call it riding). Revenue for Police, Sanitation and its assigned responsiblities is paid by property taxes and download from Provincial government and sometimes a specific project from both. Our local govt. biggest responsiblities, like the city of Toronto is operating the Massive Mass Transit symtem which service the whole city and immediate area 24/7 at a fraction of a cost to the paying public, and garbage collection and infrastructor.

    For our 3 territories, it also has some form of govt. uniquely on it’s own, but mostly the responsibility of the Federal Govt. Our 3 territories are located in the northern most part of the country and sparsely populated, mostly by our native people, the aborigins, and the mining and oil cos.

    Just compare Canada as almost the same as U.S. Federalism, each provinces autonomous, but with uniform justice system. You may check our Government Web at Government of for a detail picture of our governance and system of Federalism. Thanks..

  6. Federalism + regionalism + parochialism + political dynasty-ism + neo-feudalism + 100% foreign ownership of land + foreign-controlled economic zones/regions + scattered-islands geography + poor nationalism = dismemberment + balkanization + multi-national colonization = homeless, landless, homeland-less Filipinos

  7. I tried Juan’s equation but the answer I keep getting is “= Enchanted Kingdom.” Is that equivalent to his equation’s answer?

    Saw Ed Malay the Ramos spolesman and pollster on ANC yesterday. He was talking about the poll his organization conducted. One of his observations is Mindanao polls show that people in Mindanao favor cha-cha because people there follow their local leaders. It’s the politics of patronage daw. I don’t know if that was a case of motor mouth because he was on TV to talk about the widespread support for cha-cha. Maybe he was trying to be balanced? Or slipping in some subversive facts?Hmmm

  8. Federalism is the answer to the Philippines woes, but not at the cost of a “Dictator for Life,’ circa Idi Amin, via PGMA. Imperial Manila must be disbanded, along with the gestapo PNP/AFP in its current form. A parlimentery form of government WILL NOT work here, as TRADPOLs cannot & should not be trusted. Strict term limits should be imposed. By establishing a Federalist form (similiar to the US) of states & instilling the same Independence as states in the USA enjoy, we should see the Philippines start to prosper in 2 to 3 decades.

  9. mb + anna + mlq3,

    May 23, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo urged employers to rally behind the government so that, together, they … could reach the “Enchanted Kingdom” of First World Success. “… Let’s dream together. .. in the Enchanted Kingdom, we can operationalize that? Let’s be among the countries of the First World in 20 years,”

    June 6, 2006, Anniversary of Bunyi’s Expose-to-Cover-up Historical media event, GMA declared, with more confidence than before, “I will finish my term until 2010.”

    2010 + Enchanted Kingdoom in 20 yrs = 2010 +

    Will GMA last until 2010? But the more serious question is: will the people/country survive with Gloria in power until 2010? In what condition will the country be by 2010?

    ( I asked a similar question 2003 May: “With one yr to go, will GMA survive until 2004 election? The bigger question is will the country survive…in what condition will the country be by then? ….what’s the post-GMA scenario?- A GMA scenario?” I broadcast emailed to analysts with p.s.-‘save for future reference’ ) I was anxious, worried then, now …a sorry-sad, heavy-hearted juan … but life goes on …

  10. JMakabayan,

    How I wish I could bet my bottom dollar and win the bet that she wouldn’t last till Friday next week.

    Unfortunately, while I see that Gloria Enkantada’s kingdom is a spit away from being swallowed by the bigger Hellchanted Kingdom, it isn’t there yet, i.e., middle forces aren’t about to take up their brooms and fly around in unison to bash the Taray Queen on the head yet (and you know how important the middle is to bridge the left and the right).

    But maybe if we can steal her magic mirror and threaten to break it, who knows, she may not last till Monday next week…

  11. Hellchanted Kingdom. I love it. I’m going to use it. Hellchanted Kingdom . I love it. That plus the Goeblins of the Goblin. I have to find a sentence that includes it all.

  12. Juan,

    By 2010, there will still be a Philippines but without any citizens. At the rate GMA is distablizing the country and exporting our labor force, there will be no one left here but her minions. I expect a migration similar to the Exodus should GMA stay in power.

  13. Seems like the right idea in the wrong hands. There really are too many provinces! I mean what is it? Eighty burgs most of which are under critical mass for anything but a town fiesta? I guess the next step would be to name the Four States of the Philippines…I would certainly call Mindanao the capital of the coming Maphilindostan, but maybe your readers will contribute some suggestions…

  14. Anna, Your GMA-Black-Magic Scare is scarier than GMA’s Red Scare. The real scenario is unveiling — armmagedon.

    Schumey, The Exodus is the reverse of the Diaspora which, perhaps, you meant. “there will be no one left here but her minions” — is a run-for-lives scenario inevitable or already the situation? wake-up call, go na, now na, ang taombayan pala ang napatalsik ni gma?

  15. DJB,
    “I guess the next step would be to name the Four States of the Philippines” … and the next step, divide the Four into Eight?

    Following the premise of the main argument for Division, and given other divisive factors, the general malaise of divisiveness worsened by divisive propagandizing, intensifying the necessity and urgency of dividing the nation into region-states, the move initiates a momentum that is at risk of running out of control and sparks a conflagration out a volatile situation.

    GMA’s “the wrong hands” to do a heart-kidney-liver transplant operation on motherland, after a long series of (political-) malpactice cases.

  16. ‘Federalism’ in GMA’s hands sounds like a means to extend the shelf life of feudalism . To minimize the tendency of power going to local warlords, any future redrawing of the political map needs to be clustered around the major cities and the surrounding countryside. Exceptions can be made for far-off islands like Tawi Tawi, Palawan and Batanes where they can experiment declaring their island groups as free trade zones. As a further check to local abuses, the judiciary, needs to remain centralized. Apart from that, i see no sense in dividing the political identity of the Philippines and Filipinos. On the practical side, it has become a global brand.

  17. Gma is hell bent on following the same model of saving democracy and free markets by making war on her own people and imposing a dictatorship to save democracy. The majority will surely voter for it in the plebiscite Please note the pictures on most papers today with
    the heads of the PNP standing over the dead bodies of alleged kidnappers. GMA should bring blown up posters of that when she goes to visit the Pope to get her blessings for abolishing the death penalty. It is really nice to get up and see war trophies being displayed with one mornings coffee.

    Exporting the American Model
    Markets and Democracy
    By Chalmers Johnson

    There is something absurd and inherently false about one country trying to impose its system of government or its economic institutions on another. Such an enterprise amounts to a dictionary definition of imperialism. When what’s at issue is “democracy,” you have the fallacy of using the end to justify the means (making war on those to be democratized), and in the process the leaders of the missionary country are invariably infected with the sins of hubris, racism, and arrogance.

    I am sure many would like to read articles from the progressive side of the media world as after reading through most of these, one can almost telegraph where GMA and her band of NAZI’s are headed. All probably with the support of the Bush White House.
    We are in the throes of a war and it could heat up here in the Philippines. We could have a repeat of the murder of a Catholic bishop similar to Bishop Romero in El Salvador. The parallelism here in the Philippines is eerie.

  18. If we go federal, every state will have its own constitution, its own state parliament hence its own laws. Then we will have state laws and federal laws. Then we will need extradition agreements between states when local laws are broken. Then we will have state law enforcers and federal law enforcers. We will have state militias and a federal armed forces. Then we will have state bureaucracies that duplicate federal bureauracies – state education, health, envoironment, agriculture, labor, police, national guard, etc etc etc

    I guess a federal system would solve the unemployment problem because everybody will find a government job somewhere – either in the state government or the federal government.

  19. Hi MLQ63 and dear folks in the Quezon blogsphere,

    I posted this in Ellen’s blog but it might also interest some people here coz it’s so telling…

    According to the Malaya front page report, US Ambassador Kenny said both the US and the Philippines are concerned over the global terrorist threat and she also was quoted to have declared, “One person who is not allowing your citizens to live a peaceful, productive life is one person too many.”

    Hmmm… I like this US Ambassador! She’s been able to pinpoint our real problem but said it sooooo diplomatically… Moreover, unlike Gloria who likes futile dagdags, Mrs Kenney prefers the more tasteful bawas – heheh!

    Yep, Madame Ambassador, Gloria is one person too many!

  20. MB,

    How absolutely right you are, so very spot on!

    Federalism will work where work ethics exist, observed and applied. It will work when the majority of the population are civic-concious and it will work when people are not only prepared to follow the rule of law but also if they demand that it should be applied to everyone regardless of political stature, personal wealth or influence.

    Don’t even think of federalism with the current crop of politicians we have. If you do that it will be like multiplying Gloria by the thousands like gremlins as Antonio Walang… said.

    You mihgt as well divide the country into 4 republics, distinct and independent.

  21. MB said…
    “Then we will have state law enforcers and federal law enforcers. We will have state militias and a federal armed forces.”

    Then the result of FEDERALISM is the proliferation of “private armies” lead governors. Considering the hundreds of ethnic groups and inherent loyalties to their leaders, then the Philippines may become the old wild west with frequent shoot outs between federal army and state armies whose layalty is on their respective governors or local leaders. Do we want things like what happened in Alabama, Arkansas, between Texas and Oklahoma?

    Federal system is really another layer of beurocracy and will result to more division among Filipinos.

  22. When The U.S. started as a nation it was only a federation of 13 colonies who declared independence from the British Empire. Each of the other state that now belong to the Federation used to be an independent Province or Territory. That is how Federalism is formed. Same thing with Canada. Each of The Province and Territory were independent before Confederation. Now both countries became a nation.

    The Philippines is already a whole country, why break it up?? If the goal here is to distribute the wealth of the nation rationally and fairly among all of its inhabitants and to develop less progressive part of the country, there must be some other way than reversing Federalism. The Way I see it, federalism is the coming together of independent and autonomous states or provinces to form a nation, but not a breaking up of already a whole nation to form a Federalism.
    I believe somewhere in the U.S. constitution there is a provision that states the nation is indivisible. It is really scary that Federalism will do exactly that to the Philippines, Divide the country into “confederation of independent provinces or regions”. And eventually a break up of the country into different sovereign states, since too many wanted to become Head of States or Presidents or Prime Ministers.

  23. And who wants to apply to different boards before you can have your multiple licenses from each state? Who wants to have different CME requirements and follow diferrent sets of regulatory rules from each state? I am sure a Tagalog, a Visayan, a Pampango or a Muslim from Mindanao will require almost similar modality of treatment for DM or HT. In the same token, a murder in the north is similar with a murder case in the south. Smae lawyer can represent the defendat, why subject lawyers to different sets of boards and licenses for each state?

    Federal government is a big hassle for everyone except for the politicians and corrupt officials.

  24. Let’s take a look what what we have now.Absentee congressmen in two extremes. One set is absent from the plenary for the excuse of more time for the constituents, thus resulting to no quorum.And another set are those absentees for their constituents.Don’t know which is the lesser evil,though.

    Question:Will that change in a federalist parliamentary?

  25. Some might hate federalism now,but wwhat would be the answer to the never ending seccessionists.

    We tried autonomy,what went wrong?

    We speak of more provinces will be left out,wasn’t it because of the situation mentioned above, where they can not find their congressmen?I know that is only one problem it is more complicated than that.That’s it, how do we make it easier for us?

  26. Sa ngayon pa lang nakita natin kung pano pahirapan natin ang sarili natin.

    Example:the Teves father and son.

    The father suggested ways to increase the tax base,by sharing of data among the agencies like LTO,BIR,SSS,GSIS and whatnot.

    When the time came for his son to sit in the finance department, was it even tackled?Now pinagmamalaki na madami ng pondo at budget surplus dahil sa evat.More could be done with the expansion of taxbase and its collection.kung pwede gawin,gawin na.

  27. Take a look at any world map and see how small the Philippines is and how physically fragmented. Then we want it chopped down further into tiny little pieces? Nick Joaquin is right: we are a people made for very very small things.

  28. Karl pardon me for butting in, but the accesiblity of the Congressman or in parliamentary your member sometimes depend on the attitudes of your elected representatives. But the sytem could help accessibilty in this regard.

    In our system, it is compulsury to have a parliamentary session every year with a set minimum number of days. (can be extended in circumtances when very important bill need to be passed). That requires the Parties, both the govt. and the oppositions to work on the business of government. A party leader or a party whip should always make sure that all its member are available for question period and voting for the bill. Then after the session of Parliament of about 127 days, the members are let loose to look after the concern of their constituents.
    And stagetically located within the riding is the office of your local Member where you can can come drop by anytime for even a chat with its staff or met you member of the Parliament. Its no big deal, since not a single one of them have a bodyguard or any security to interrupt you or any memeber of the public to access their politician. Sometimes the system help accessiblity, but I believe still that it’s the Total maturity of the whole society that will these things possible.

  29. Well said,Vic!Many thanks!

    The session breaks,unfortunately is used for trips abroad.(not all)Whether it is accessibility or visibility of our representatives ,you are right it is the total maturity of the whole society and malayo pa tayo.

  30. I’ve observed the US Congress. The plenary is always empty. Why? Because Congressmen only go there to vote.

    Most of the work is done at the committee level – hearings, crafting of the law etc. All committee rooms and representatives offices have bells that ring whenever there is a vote. Congressmen make a dash for the plenary, vote then go back to whatever it is they were doing or not doing.

    Debates in the plenary are for the benefit of constituents, for C-Span coverage and the Congressional Record. However, Congressmen are also allowed to include speeches in the Congressional Record even if they do not actually speak on the floor. They just have to submit their speech for the Record.

    I think too much importance is given to presence in the plenary. The work is done at the committee level , where there is focus, and not at the plenary where grandstanding is about the only thing anyone can accomplish.

  31. MB,

    True work is done at the committee level (in any parliament the world over) but do they really work at committee levels in the Philippine Congress?

  32. One risk in considering a federal set-up is the way in which it may be used by foreign governments to further their agenda. In the future, the USA may play off a less hospitable central government in Manila against the local government in Mindanao so that they can set-up and maintain their military bases on that island.

  33. Problem Solving: Politicians’ Perspective

    Problem: The Filipinos are politically immature.
    Solution: Politicians must be in control as much as possible and the people as least as possible: A Parliamentary system.

    Problem: The Filipinos share unequally in opportunities for development because politicians have less control of their respective regions.
    Solution: Divide the land, to each his own development: A Federation of Region-States

    Problem: The Filipinos do not trust the politicians to have more power in a parliamentary system and maximum power as heads of region-states.
    Solution: Politicians must change the system and form of government to make the Filipinos trust the government.

  34. cvj,

    I’ve reminded some friends from Mindanao that if the form goes federal, meaning they form their state, “do you will be independent? no, you will simply be endorsed to Amercans and Autralians whose troops are already there. which mutinational companies control the economy of Mindanbusiness cont

  35. cvj,

    I’ve reminded some friends from Mindanao that if the form goes federal, meaning they form their state, “do you think will be independent? no, you will simply be endorsed to Americans and Autralians whose troops are already there, mutinational companies control the economy of Mindanao. you will just be endorsed.” as I’ve posted above, multinational colonization

  36. last March the C-Chinese visited prime agricultural lands in Cagayan Valley, so the North can go Chinese, mining is come-one-come-all ‘all for the taking’, Mindanao mines are reserved for US-Australia colonization coalition of the prime vigin South, it is already in place, ‘not in the future’,

    that’s the ‘biggies’ why gloria got to seat in power, same why she’ll stay there 2010+, i’ve chided edsa2 p-power-people, that moment gma was sworn in, ” you’ve been had”, nov 2000 i’ve warned a group already mobilizing for pp2, “if you go for ouster while impeachment is ongoing, who will be accountable”

  37. great points made so far …
    ang next question siguro ay: ano ang pinakamagandang paraan para maayos ang gobyerno? given na yung papatalsikin si gloria, ang mga alipores nya et al. Aside from that, ano pa? Kasi even after maalis silang lahat, ganun pa rin ang gobyerno; magbabago lang ang mga lider. So, how do we break the stranglehold of politicians on our economy and our way of life?

  38. Juanmakabayan, i’m not automatically against accepting Chinese, American or Australian investments if it will liven up economic activity in a given locality. (Foreign troops on our soil are a different matter of course.) However, i share your concern. If at this stage, we’re not really sure of ourselves as one Filipino nation, we might become prey to US or Chinese hegemony.

    Moe, first we have to reestablish genuine democracy. In that way, it would be easier for the truth to come out. Having the truth will make it easier to determine what is just. Justice, of course, is the bedrock of development.

    In concrete terms, the middle has to abandon its ‘end justifies the means’ approach which drives its alliance with the trapos. We are still a young nation carrying relatively less historical baggage , so now is the time to get into the habit of doing the right thing. As Gandhi advocates, our ends have to be our means.

  39. Yes, they work in committees pero minsan kahit sa committee level ang dami pa ding absentees.

    On a personal note, I heard there will be a revamp in the senate when Villar takes over.
    There goes the quarterly allowance of my dad,dahil sigurado pati defense committee marerevamp especially now when everybody is telling Biazon to shut up.

  40. cvj, thanks for replying. how do we establish genuine democracy? come to that, what do you mean by ‘genuine democracy?’

  41. Anna, In the US I’ve seen work being done at the committee level. I guess here too because it’s at the committee level wgere girse traing and crafting of the law is done.

    Moe, I can sense from your question your preference for cha-cha or systemic change. Really. It’s the people not the system. It’s the singer not the song.

  42. no manuel. i am truly asking. maybe you can answer me. so all the rotten eggs get the boot..what’s next?

  43. Moe,

    After crushing the rotten eggs, hold an election – START from scratch. The alternative candidates are there – convince those that you believe could make a difference. Hack those that you believe have no moral right to lead. Make sure each and every Filipino guards the ballots.

    Difficult you say? Of course, everything that’s good is difficult, everything that’s evil is easy.

  44. anna: i guess it is important then that every filipino choose wisely; that the election managers are credible and trustworthy; and that the politicians themselves have the moral right to lead.

    btw: ellen tordesillas quoted you today in Malaya.

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