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Wrapped in the flag
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on August 28, 2008 353 Comments 13 min read
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But it seems to me questionable whether any government has the right to demand loyalty from its citizens beyond its willingness or ability to render actual protection.
-Quezon To MacArthur, January 28, 1942

For once, I agree absolutely with Bong Montesa: never play the game of chicken. If this recent Inquirer editorial pointed out the administration has so botched up the peace process and is zigzagging so clumsily today, as to make the restoration of peace so much more difficult, the subsequent Inquirer editorial,suggests the MILF finds itself in a bind, because of the hostilities that have erupted and for which it took credit. Pointing to August 22 news item MILF Chair Al Haj Murad raise points in meeting IMT and the from Luawaran.com,’ the editorial suggested that the MILF (or the faction of its leadership that wanted to achieve its political aims through negotiations) was trying to invoke the assistance of its Malaysian sponsors. See –MILF asks Malaysia to convene peace panel – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Davao City councilor Peter Lavina in his bog, suggests that the Malaysian government officially speaking, is supportive. But the political reality in Malaysia is that the government is in its own version of survival mode. Lip service and a little diplomatic nudging here and there is all very good, but in determining the cost-effectiveness of using a nation’s resources (diplomacy, economics, military, etc.) there is little going for Malaysia if it publicly supports armed rebellion on the part of the MILF.

Militarily, even, the dilemma is there. If you assume, as some do, that the MILF possesses SAM’s in its inventory, it cannot use them now, or even later. For to do so would provide proof of foreign funding or at least facilitation/support; and regionally speaking, Malaysia as the likely culprit would trigger unease in Indonesia and alarm countries like Thailand (both being firm U.S. allies) which is fighting its own Muslim secessionists.

And so it seems the last-ditch appeal, perhaps by the more moderate among the MILF’s leadership, is for the Malaysians to give a sign that they continue to enjoy that country’s confidence and backing, in an effort to convince the other foreign powers to head off full-blown hostilities. Again, here is a confluence of interests: the Americans wouldn’t be too keen on hostilities because as the primary funder of our armed forces it would have to foot the bill and this includes what the Americans know all too well includes lining generals’ pockets (see Who Profits From The War in Mindanao? | Filipino Voices). It wouldn’t even really help the American arms industry. Not much money to be gained with out Korea and Vietnam War-era weaponry.Add to this the possibility that SouthEast Asia, including the Philippines, exists in a kind of policy limbo vis-a-vis Washington: In Asia » Blog Archive » Asian Policy Challenges for the Next President.

But that doesn’t mean that these nations could prevent a shooting war, either.

So when the MILF announced, on August 21, it would hold a press conference on August 23, I had deep misgivings. What would they say? After their former brio, they’d been complaining that AFP uses excessive force in attack pulverizing Muslim communities, which ignores who started the fighting or the absurdity of expecting the AFP not to send in the PAF.

Though they did have a point in saying MILF: CAFGUs, CVOs, plus Pinol, et al=Ilagas which the PNP, for one, validated by the tactic of arming civilian militias (see PNP sending shotguns to Mindanao auxiliaries – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos). The news of state-armed militias is indeed troubling; it is a sign of weakness and does not address the sort of insecurities that led to this: see Iligan City Hall Sights « preMEDitated.

Where did this insecurity come from? On one part, the public being unsure of what, really, the administration’s game plan was concerning Mindanao (in a nutshell: An irresponsible response « Mon Casiple’s Weblog on Philippine Politics). Second, the Palace having to respond to public hostility to its peace plan, and that response being at best, a confusing combination of bluster and appeasement. ALthough RG Cruz puts forward the Palace line of a STRATEGY CHANGE | RG CRUZ which suggests some sort of rhyme or reason, crude zigzaging seems a more appropriate description: Malacañang Backtracks on BJE MoA Even As Supreme Court Set to Rule on Constitutionality » The Warrior Lawyer | Philippine Lawyer.

Third, uncertainty concerning traditional allies such as the United States (see US silent on MILF terrorism « Peter Laviña New Blog) and Fourth, the possibility that the armed forces intervened by mounting operations even when the President hadn’t quite made up her mind on that to do. In his blog, thenutbox actually suggests the President announced offensive operations to retroactively rubberstamp the armed forces’ decision to begin them, regardless of the President’s position on the matter:

What my uncle told me was that Mrs. Arroyo actually ordered the attacks against MILF after the generals have already decided to launch the AFP offensive.

Arroyo’s inability to control her temper, his hypothesis went on, is actually borne out of her fright of the generals’ deciding by themselves without consulting her. She made a complete turn-around in his policy towards the MILF to appease the generals who were clearly pissed off with the BJE deal she made with the rebel group. And she wanted to appease the generals as soon as possible, hence her uncontrolled emotions for the delay of the taping.

At first I dismissed this as another conspiracy theory from a Gloria-hater. But veteran journalist Ellen Tordessillias, in a reply to a comment I posted on her blog, confirmed that, indeed, the anti-MILF mopping operations were actually carried out before the Bitch ordered them.

Note that Tordesilla’s military sources are excellent. I’d also heard on my own from a retired senior officer that Camp Aguinaldo had leaked the RP-MILF agreement to the media in the first place, and when I asked the retired officer if the agreement had the sanction of the AFP, the retired officer had emphatically shaken his head and said, “no, the AFP will fight!”

Note that Tordesilla’s military sources are excellent. I’d also heard on my own from a retired senior officer that Camp Aguinaldo had leaked the RP-MILF agreement to the media in the first place, and when I asked the retired officer if the agreement had the sanction of the AFP, the retired officer had emphatically shaken his head and said, “no, the AFP will fight!”

Put another way (see Philippine Politics 04: Arroyo needs to defend and explain the MOA-AD) if the President really did see the deal as an opportunity to display statesmanship, her statesmanlike resolve dissolved quite quickly, indeed. And Fifth, I’d say, a kind of latent nationalism everyone in official circles had assumed wasn’t there anymore (see This is what will happen to the Philippines after signing the GRP – MILF Memorandum of Agreement : OTWOMD | Bluepanjeet.Net)

The President hasn’t given supporters of the peace deal any chance to save themselves or the cause of peace. Which, sad to say, has been the repeated experience of those who still suffer from the delusion that they can achieve their idealistic goals by means of a pragmatic alliance with the President.

So if there are defenders, still, of the MOA: MOA-AD a path to peace, says Archbishop Quevedo « SCRIPTORIUM and refer to Red’s Herring: SC review imperils Mindanao peace process; then see The Palace’s High Cost of Learning | ralphguzman.org.

And refer to GOING IN CIRCLES « THE MOUNT BALATUCAN MONITOR and PUSONG MAMON « THE MOUNT BALATUCAN MONITOR to get a glimpse into how people -particularly Filipinos seized by uncertainty in the affected areas of Mindanao- began to send the message to civilian and military officials alike that in the absence of any reassuring information that the government knew what it was doing and would defend citizens seized by panic, that they would then take matters into their own hands.

And the would do so in the manner of their forefahers, see Viva Iligan! « preMEDitated:

In the speech, he appealed for:

Calm.
Bravery.
Community.
And Solidarity.

He also urged community leaders to lead the people under them, to prepare for the worst, and fight if the need arose. He also mentioned the presence of the tanks and the several thousand strong army defending Iligan.
He also mentioned that the people of Iligan should not be afraid because God and Senior San Miguel was on our side. He closed his speech with a, “Viva Senior San Miguel!, to which the people heartily replied a “Viva”.
Although, I’m Protestant and do not agree with Catholic veneration of saints and even angels, I could not help but realize that the Mayor was speaking the heart language of the Iliganon, something that they could understand. He was speaking the old language of the Spanish times at the time when the citizens of the old fort of Iligan defended the fort and even waged battle against the Moros. Historically, even though Iligan was just a doorstep away from the Moro stronghold of Marawi, it was never conquered by Muslims despite the fact that at that time their pirates raided Christian towns as far away as Luzon.

“War,” Clausewitz famously wrote, “is the continuation of politics by other means.” Samuel Johnson also famously warned that “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels,” and yet it is also a time when a formerly divided people can find unity and leaders can tap into a kind of mystical reservoir of national solidarity and idealism:

As Juned Sonido, perhaps one of the most even-tempered bloggers around reflected, in a time of conflict there is the need to be aware of the dangers of jingoism and the imperative that should weigh heavily on all those in authority: to provide protection from those who hold allegiance to the state. What distinguishes the two? A clear and present danger, a compelling need:

At present waltzing around the negotiation table is as useful as cupping a corpse. It is hard to negotiate when one side has not given up the armed option or has no control over its army while the other side seems to be following the likes Neville Chamberlain at Munich – practicing vermi-negotiation or the art and science of negotiations by the worms at Munich.

Meanwhile, the war continues and people are hurt. A few hours ago a bomb was exploded in Zamboanga. Will this again reach the other corners of the country. Another bomb in the MRT or LRT?

Is this jingoism? No. This is a matter of national self defense.

It is the duty of the State to protect the citizens who opt to stay in this country. Otherwise these same citizens will go to other means to protect themselves.

 

You have to wonder whether such viligantism can view anything other than bloodcurdling hostility as acceptable.

By way of Carl Parkes — FriskoDude: Philippines: The Sulu Zone of Peace who points us to Jolo’s gun culture – Sidetrip with Howie Severino, we catch a glimpse of the complexities of conflict and clan relationships among the Moros. Those like the Catholic bishops clamoring for peace know from personal experience that peace is possible but peace between Christians and Muslims is made doubly difficult as peace among the Moros is difficult enough to achieve. Though it can be done: see A Lesson on Clan Conflict Resolution in the Philippines.

The reality however is that even though it’s always denied it, the Palace is sensitive to public opinion particularly when that opinion starts triggering May, 2001 flashbacks in the President’s inner circle.

Where that opinion is -and how it’s increasingly hostile to any policy other than crushing the MILF- can be gleaned from surveying the blogosphere:

See The Journal of The Jester-in-Exile: Are Yu Dif? Didna Her? then The Philippine Experience, as well as fiesty commentaries from mindanao is the land, promise « Geisha (gay’sya) Diaries and Mindanao « the Scribe in Me and The Art and Science of – Notes from an Apathetic Atenean Doctor. As well as idiosyncratic thoughts: hay.. and A SCENARIO EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH OUT « THE MOUNT BALATUCAN MONITOR.

On a more philosophical note, two entries discuss A Just War | Filipino Voices and A Just War: Road to A Just Peace | Filipino Voices (what is a “Just War”? See Just War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). The voices raised against war are few and far between, see: Oppose the Mindanao War « Pinoy Observer

And while some will ask (and perhaps hope) Critical Criterion Edition: Peace in Mindanao? Here is A sober reminder that the war is real | Filipino Voices which makes for cautionary reading, as does this entry from General Santos City, in For the Children | HomewardBound:

12:52 PM Our principal called for an emergency meeting, the second meeting we had today that zeroed in on matters of safety and security. The schools has received calls that messages were circulating about schools in General Santos City whose students and teachers were hostaged. We were not very sure of the report but for the reason that we have to secure the safety of our students, we have decided to send them home.

However, we could not simply let them take the public transport, which will drop them in downtown GenSan. So, we arranged for vehicles that will take them to their respective homes. Those who have their own vehicles were fetched by their parents.

What happened in the elementary school is a different story. Panicking parents rushed to the school fetching their kids. Some drivers told us about the chaos in the elementary school.

Some member of the authorities went to our school to reassure us that none of the reported events were true and that we are relatively safer here. That’s a bit of a relief. But who knows what will happen next? Better safe than sorry.

Intuitive: We Need Your Prayers echoes the unreported reality for most Filipinos, worried about loved ones and even their property and livelihoods. Meanwhile, everyone waits to see which side will escalate matters and bring the front lines to other metropolitan centers of the Philippines.


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  1. Tax Joven and Justice,

    Local Autonomy thru a federal set-up may be the answer. I thought I agree on that too? lol

    As for the mayor of QC, the incentives have already been enjoyed not only by him but by the people and for the people. He can be a good coach to create some kind of seminars especially on financial transaction on public funds, collection of taxes and how the process was done, project management and many more. He can help other mayors to perform or mimick his style of management.

    One thing strong about the QC mayor, he has a higher level of education. mayors in the provinces may not but the QC mayor can always share his expertise thru seminars and continuing education among his peers. A 30 hours yearly seminar for good governance or whatever it may be.If mayors cannot comply with the CEU requirements then they will be subject to penalty. It’s not a hard penalty. It’s taking action in a more civilized way.

    Tax joven,

    no idea is crazy if presented wisely and clearly. I did oppose pimentel’s proposal before and the federalist group from cebu who linked its site somewhere here in manolo’s blog. My concern was their proposal have no clear goals, mission and vision. the feredalist group from cebu has not come back. I think I may have offended them which is not smart in my part. We can only come up with an informed decision if we listen to both sides. One sided decision is definitely a difficult task , the lack of support may lead us to a lonely journey.

    a civilized discussion is crucial.

  2. Leytenian, we are back to square one. We are going around in circles. Theoretically, federalism is a form of local autonomy, but under Philippine conditions, local autonomy in federalism or vice versa is an oxymoron. This is my stand. I don’t think I can make it any clearer. Ironically though my only hope in this hopeless situation is Senator Nene Pimentel himself, no less. If only he will have a change of heart!

    Corollary to an HDS is a leadership training for all local chief executives. DILG has a built-in program for this. It will not want for experienced and skilled trainers and resource persons. It is not a job for a Mayor, no matter how qualified and capable he might be.

  3. Leytenian,

    You missed Tax Joven’s statement of “A Highly Decentralized Set-up under a unitary system. It’s about bringing local autonomy to the limits allowable under the present Charter.”

    And I can’t exactly read what you claim are the incentives already enjoyed by the QC mayor.

    Tax Joven,

    I likewise believe that the aspirations of local autonomy is certainly achievable under the present charter.

  4. tax joven,

    pimentel already have accumulated support from the provinces especially mindanao and the visayans. i’m not sure if we can change the mindset of his supporter . most of them are the LGU and NGO.

  5. Leytenian,

    Sen. Pimentel’s proposal hasn’t survived a free discussion of issues yet.

    Even though they still might push for it even if it doesn’t survive, support for it might change should those discussions come to the fore.

  6. justice and tax joven,

    i can go with the flow. the ball is on your side. i can only share and suggest . Congress is a big labor expense and becoming a liability by dragging our economy. It’s purpose can no longer provide accumulation of assets unless each of them will truly work and focus its intention by increasing employment to their respective regions. they should be aware
    that there are about 6.6 million underemployed in the agricultural sector. I don’t know how many belongs to their region. Communication between senator, congressmen and governors must be for one common goal. They don’t have one common goal for the people… They might say, oh yes we do- but numbers are negative. our country’s unemployment rate is very high and large gap of income inequality. Just wondering if Congress understand the microeconomic demands in our country?

  7. Leytenian,

    “the ball is on your side”.

    I definitely think you are mistaken.

    Tax Joven has gladly put forth his alternative on the issue of greater local autonomy.

    And that is to strengthen it by way of legislation without requiring amending/revising the Constitution.

    You on the other hand recommend greater local autonomy through Federalism that will require ChaCha.

    Tax Joven’s proposal will consume no more manpower, resources, etc…. than what Congress eats already.

    But yours will require additional manpower, manpower hours, resources, funds, etc.. along with a possibility that the electorate might repudiate your proposal in an expected costly plebiscite/referendum.

    On paper, Tax Joven’s idea will demand no more political will from public officials than what they already profess to have.

    Supposedly, certain members of Congress are in favor of greater local autonomy by going federal.

    Supposedly, PGMA is in favor of greater local autonomy by going federal.

    With so many officials in favor of greater local autonomy; what is preventing them from enacting legislations through Congress that will strengthen/enlarge/whatever local autonomy under the current Charter?

    I’m trying to be polite, but you have run away from so many of my queries.

    And if ever the ball is in our hands; its because you dropped it.

  8. justice,

    you are right… i’m running out of ideas and options. i am now limited by actual data and actual happening in our country. If i have dropped the ball, I guess I have to pick it up… lol

    so what is exactly you want me to say or do? i am in the US. I have limited connections. how far can we go? what’s next for tax joven’s autonomy? as i have said, many LGU’s are already in favor of federalism, that’s out of my control . And even if I will be for local autonomy, I also have no direct control. I’m just being in the middle.

  9. leytenian : “pimentel already have accumulated support from the provinces especially mindanao and the visayans. i’m not sure if we can change the mindset of his supporter . most of them are the LGU and NGO.”

    Thanks for the good news. Get the proponent, and you get his supporters! But how I can get to him when I can’t even get past you? I think you’re just bursting to the seams with brilliant ideas, and you’ll be a big help if you’d just slow down a bit and get some focus.

    You see primo, we need all hands on deck. And it’s good to know that justice league is on our side. The Three Musketeers is better than the Lone Ranger. It could lead to the Dirty Dozen! And who knows that justice league may actually be a league all by himself?

    Cha-cha is dead, at least for now. So where else would Senator Nene Pimentel go? Well, he is always welcome to his old forte: local autonomy. Besides, HDS is the real thing for for LGU’s and our country, not federalism. Are you with us? Please hurry before senility do us in.

    justice league: “With so many officials in favor of greater local autonomy; what is preventing them from enacting legislations through Congress that will strengthen/enlarge/whatever local autonomy under the current Charter?”

    We know what the answer is. We know how to go about it. With no no less than the fate of the entire country at stake, can we do it? It’s a journey of a thousand miles! Shall we take the first step?

  10. tax joven,

    many non profit in the US lead by many OF pinoys are supporting federalism thru NGO and LGU’s. Financing and their help is huge. Even if Chacha is dead and Pimentel’s proposal may not push through, there are plenty of them who will probably continue their effort. this is also out of my control. You might have to connect with Cebu and Mindanao to support you. I may know some connections in Cebu and Mindanao but I cannot disclose nor I can provide their personal information.

    As far as those connections, chacha is not dead.

  11. Leytenian, I didn’t imagine you would be of much help. I know now though why you can’t speak for federalism. Nor can even Senator Nene Pimentel himself!

    He promises two fruits of federalism: spurred economic growth for countrysides and solution to the Mindanao conflict. This goes beyond nonsense. Federalism will nip those fruits in the bud rather than nurture them.

    Federalism will strangle, not promote local autonomy because instead of Imperial Manila it would put of States. And states could be more domineering than far-away Manila.

    A commercial hub is either within a province or a city. A business is never region-based. So, how could a State spur economic growth? Seeing that its operational and financial guidelines is yet to be drawn, it may not even be able to stand on its own in years. It even has to get sustenance from the LGU’s! 30% of the LGU share say Pimentel!

    On the other hand, imagine a city or a province, moving on its own, without a monkey called state on its back! Come to think of it. What would states be for? Aren’t we prepared to let the LGU’s chart their own destiny? Can’t we entrust them to operate on their own?

    The idea of federalism rose from failed governance. We did not attempt to explore the limits to which our present Charter allows local autonomy. We bungled our attempts at devolution by holding on to the funds intended for it. Now we want to change the Charter to give the LGU’s the powers we denied them in the present one!

    How about the other fruit? Would regional groupings promote peace, or would it aggravate the present conflict and open up new ones? Again, the Mindanao conflict has its roots in failed governance. We refused to give lands to Maranaos, Tibolis, Bagobos, Tausugs and other indigenous tribes, in the same manner that we refused to give land titles to Christian Settlers. Federalism would give it to armed groups on a regional or wholesale basis!

    Ancestral domain is neither political nor religious. It is tribal and economic. It best approached at the local rather than regional settings. RA 8371 is our best guide to this, not a cha-cha that would foster and encourage regional groups that may soon grow to be too unwieldy for progress and comfort.

  12. If ever I want to ride on POLITICIAN’S’ view of CHARTER CHANGE; I would rather want to be the one riding and not the one ridden on. Otherwise for the most part I’d enjoy kicking them to whatever direction I deem fit.

    Leytenian,

    “If i have dropped the ball, I guess I have to pick it up… lol”

    Well you have to get it back from us first. LOL.

    “so what is exactly you want me to say or do? i am in the US. I have limited connections.

    I may know some connections in Cebu and Mindanao ……”

    If you’re technology savvy enough (I am not) ; why don’t you start an online petition on your end.

    Influence your connections in Mindanao and Cebu and even Leyte to start a petition pushing said concerned officials to support with action their blah blah on greater local autonomy by enacting legislation RIGHT NOW within this Charter.

    Tinkering with the Constitution will take years with no guaranteed result. (Unless the result has been cooked already)

    By legislation, with the “supposed” support of concerned officials; a law could be passed in a couple of weeks, required period after publication will take a couple of weeks, etc… you can have greater local autonomy BEFORE ALL SAINTS’ DAY!

    TAx Joven,

    Do you mean literal revolution or was that just a figure of speech?

    Manolo,

    I know you’re pro federal. What’s your take on greater local autonomy within the present Charter?

    Will you be putting up your own online petition for the above or for something else?

  13. “Federalism next step to devolution. Federalism as an option should be considered to fully operationalize local autonomy and devolution in the country. There are discussions, not only in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries, on adopting the federal system. Some argue that federalism is the next logical step after devolution.”
    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/talkofthetown/view/20080906-159116/Local-autonomy-federalism-and-BJE

    Federalism in the Philippines

    “The past decades has witnessed an increasing interest in federalism from around the globe. Professor Ronald Watts (2002) of Queen’s University Canada on the International Conference on Federalism held at Switzerland this year noticed, “Political leaders, leading intellectuals and even some journalist increasingly speak of federalism as a healthy, liberating and positive form of organization. Belgium, Spain, South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom appear to be emerging towards new innovative federal forms, and in a number of other countries some consideration has been given to the efficacy of incorporating some federal features, although not necessarily all the characteristics of a full fledged federation.”

    from cut and paste:

    In the Philippines, some scholars, politicians and experts have been discussing the prospects of federalism as an approach to Philippine governance. Political scientist Jose Abueva, for instance, espouses a transformation of the existing decentralized unitary system to a federal system by 2010.

    He proposes that the transition to a federal state be done in two phases in a span of ten years starting 2000 to 2010 to allow for a careful examination of proposed constitutional changes, discussions and exchanges of ideas throughout the nation, and acting on the changes together as a whole. “

  14. cut and paste:
    “In a research report of the Center for Social Policy and Governance of the Kalayaan College, Abueva enumerated the theory behind Philippine federalization. The following are the hypotheses for the proposed shift from a unitary system to a federal system quoted from the research report with editing”

    1. The basis for establishing a federal system is that the Philippines has already achieved sufficient national unity and democratization, including a measure of decentralization and local autonomy. The latter will follow about a decade’s transition of “regionalization” and increased local autonomy involving both the national government and the local governments.

    2. Specifically, the 1987 Constitution’s design for the development of participatory democracy, local autonomy, and an active role for civil society in governance was a result of the growing difficulties and frustration with the country’s highly centralized unitary system during the authoritarian regime that started in September 1972.

    3. Federalism will respond to the demands of local leaders for their release from the costly, time-consuming, stifling, and demoralizing effects of excessive centralization and controls by the national government in the present unitary system.

    4. The structures, processes, and responsibilities of the federation will challenge and energize the people and their state and local governments. Such further democratization will encourage creativity, initiative and innovation, spur inter-state competition, and foster state and local self-reliance instead of continued dependency.

    5. A federal system will greatly increase the capacity of the people and the government to deal with the country’s problems because the removal of the centralized structure that impose and sustain local dependence and stifle local initiative and resourcefulness will provide greater freedom and home rule. Therefore, they will be more interested in state and local governance because it is closer to them and will deal with under-development – local poverty, unemployment, injustice, inadequate social services and infrastructure, and low productivity.

    6. In a federal structure that will consolidate the 80 provinces of the Philippines into 8 to 10 larger, integrated and more efficient and viable regions called states, substantial, faster and equitable development for the whole country is more likely to be achieved.

    7. By participating in meaningful and challenging politics and governance at the state and local levels that impact directly the lives of the constituents, the people will be more empowered than if they continued to be alienated from their weak local governments and spectators in the affairs of far away national government institutions in the nation’s capital. Moreover, the people’s liberty will be protected by the further dispersion of power in the government and the society.

    8. By governing the nation through interdependence and interaction with the states as regional governments, using the national language and a global language (such as English), the federal government will be better able to achieve and sustain national unity and identity. At the same time the states will be able to nurture, protect and enhance their regional cultures institutions and also contribute to national cultural development. Together the federal government and the states will be able to develop and sustain the nation’s cultural diversity and social pluralism.

    9. A federal system will also be better able to respond to the external threats to national security and the challenges of globalization by strengthening the nation-state’s capacity to deal with its critical internal problems and development.

    10. As a special metropolitan local government, Metro Manila, the present national capital, will have the structure of a state and will be able to deal more effectively with its problems as the nation’s principal metropolis. A planned new federal capital at the former Clark Air Base in Central Luzon will enable the federal government to function more efficiently by having the principal institutions and offices of the federation located in proximity to one another and accessible to Metro Manila by rapid transit.

    It has been recognized that federalism is not a panacea for solving all governance problems. However, given the abovementioned hypotheses as rational, it will improve Philippine governance. As mentioned earlier, the structure of a federal government will empower the people and accelerate the country’s development.

  15. Leytenian,

    “… although not necessarily all the characteristics of a full fledged federation” so its federalism but not federalism.

    There was a Charter Change discussion in a university once. Chairman Abueva came with a coterie of staff along with a number of government officials.

    He presented numerous slides and explained them.

    Then the open forum started.

    I fired a salvo of non-personal and to my view legitimate questions.

    Abueva was not pleased. His answers were so so …..

    In fact, the school officials had to “save” him from me by turning off the guest microphone.

    As I turned to return to my seat, the students were clapping. And they weren’t clapping for him!

    Quoting from the source will do you no good because I’ve faced the source and HE IS WANTING!

  16. justice league,

    Thanks for the company. I now sense some movement.

    But a good company need not be sympathetic. He could be adversarial. One could defend a proposition by trying to put it down. As I am doing with federalism. This is why I’m trying to pick up a fight wherever and whenever there’s a willing adversary. My movement is limited though because of limited IT savvy.

    JA Carizo who’s for federalism put up a ring where we could continue the slug fest we started by email, http://.feDecentralize.wordpress.com. There’s enough material in there that may be worth looking into, until I can find my way in. I still have to figure out how.

    There’s nothing wrong with a revolution that would start in the minds of LG and NGO officials. It could preempt a bloody one. It is the same kind of revolution that Senator Nene Pimentel is trying to foment. Only the purpose differs.

  17. Political Obstacles to Decentralization: Evidence from the Philippines

    Decentralization has swept across the developing world in recent years. Although the speed and scope of the shift toward more decentralized practices is striking, decentralization is neither inevitable nor irreversible. Rather, it faces enormous political obstacles and can be subject to serious setbacks. Based on fieldwork, it suggests that even after the political decision to decentralize has been made, national politicians may face deep-seated incentives to preserve centralized control over fiscal policy. Legislators attempted to reverse and then circumvent decentralization since it threatened their status as brokers claiming personal credit for negotiating fiscal transfers from the center.

  18. Fiscal Federalism:

    “Fiscal federalism is a system of transfer payments or grants by which a federal government shares its revenues with lower levels of government. ”
    While fiscal federalism constitutes a set of guiding principles, a guiding concept, that helps in designing financial relations between the national and subnational levels of the government, fiscal decentralization on the other hand is a process of applying such principles… The PROCESS in other terms is ” local autonomy”
    Local Autonomy of financial management….

  19. Leytenian,

    “Political Obstacles to Decentralization: Evidence from the Philippines

    So does this mean that you won’t be holding them accountable for all their Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah ……………………………….. supposedly in favor of greater local autonomy then?

    But then why the heck do you trust them in amending the Constitution?

    Are you sure that the Federalism that you envision will be the same Federalism that they will enshrine in the Charter?

    If you go to the proposals in Chacha in House resolution number 4 and and even in the Concom recommended one; the same politicians that your article quote ascribes to will be the same ones who will define federalism.

    So does your further quotes on “federalism” mean we shouldn’t be expecting an online petition from you like the one I advised?

  20. Ooooppps.

    It should be properly inside quotation marks so it should read

    “Political Obstacles to Decentralization: Evidence from the Philippines” .

  21. justice,

    Federalism is in its infancy. The government cannot afford to refuse the donation and assistance from Switzerland, Japan , Australia, and USA. These countries are for Federalism. Donations has not been channeled anymore to central. It goes directly to local NGO’s.

  22. Leytenian,

    Strings attached eh.

    I would understand an interdependent relation with other countries but your idea smacks of a “dependent” foreign policy.

    Are you going to be enshrining it in your proposed Charter too?

    Donations go directly to local NGO’s? Well I think Local Government Units (LGUs) need not go through the DSWD for their importations but I didn’t expect rules on foreign donations to be so lax. Maybe you’re right but can you please show us your source on this?

  23. Hi Justice,

    ang alam ko lang ang laki nang utang natin… we do need some help financially.

    “Swiss President offers support for PGMA’s move to adopt federal form of gov’t in Mindanao”
    The two Presidents also expressed satisfaction over the close and successful cooperation on the recovery of the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ assets from Switzerland to the Philippines following the final ruling by the Swiss Federal Court in 1998.
    http://www.gov.ph/news/default.asp?i=21836

  24. Justice,

    maybe we should talk about how to make money? hahahah
    “How can I or my organization receive funding from USAID?”
    Overall, priorities areas for USAID assistance are determined in conjunction with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) of the Philippines and the U.S. Embassy. It is then implemented by appropriate agencies of the national, provincial and local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private voluntary organizations (PVOs), and businesses and civic organizations. USAID assistance is generally in the form of technical assistance — services supplied by people and firms that USAID hires.
    http://philippines.usaid.gov/about_2faqs.php

  25. We can have local autonomy without federalism but we can have federalism without local autonomy. This is the essence of “Decentralization and Federalism in the Philippines: Lessons from Global Community” by Alex B. Brillantes, Jr. and Donna Moscare.

    It wrote: “… it is possible to have good local governance under a devolved set up, governance here meaning the delivery of basic services to the people, not only by the local government, but in partnership with the other sectors in the community. The countryside is dotted with illustrations of good and best practices of how local governments have creatively used their powers to bring about good governance at the local level.”

    “For instance, we have seen how local governments have creatively generated additional resources by floating bonds and therefore provide public housing, something that was unheard of before local autonomy. There are local governments that constructed public markets through the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) mode. Having no resources available except for the land, Mandaluyong entered into a partnership with the private sector through BOT and has now constructed a public market that has approached world-class standards. Similarly, a small municipality in Ilocos Norte, Dingras, also entered into a variation of the BOT to construct its public market. We have seen local governments float bonds to meet public housing requirements. Victorias, Negros Occidental and Legaspi City are examples of such. In the area of environmental management and consciousness, contrary to the popular notion that projects with social and environmental concerns are not politically expedient because results are not felt immediately as, say, public works and infrastructure projects are and therefore unable to deliver votes, experience has shown that many local governments in the country have place environmental considerations among their priority concerns.”

    “Local governments have entered into joint ventures and cooperative arrangements within the context of maximizing utility of resources. They have set up their own provincial investment and business councils to maximize their entrepreneurial capacities. The list of examples of good practices goes on. Efforts at recognizing good practices at the local level may be placed within the context of proving that devolution is working. In other words, local government units, using the creative powers devolved to them under the Code, and inspite of the many constraints, have been able to respond to the enormous challenges brought about by devolution.”

    “Another concern that should be addressed in pushing for a federal system is the capacities and capabilities of the state and local governments. While preparing for federalism, the government should be more decentralized. It is necessary to promote and develop self-reliance in the local governments that will be converted to states. They should have the capability and resources to function effectively as states under a federal government. They should be enabled to respond to the needs and demands of the community and fulfill their roles under a federal set-up. Parallel movement, therefore, of devolution and federalism is vital.

    Having said all these, one would think that the Paper has scheduled moves to immediately further decentralize the present set-up. Instead, it drew an elaborate plan to promote federalism, making mention of implementing amendments to the LGC only on the fourth year of its execution. This means that federalists are more interested in setting up federalism than in promoting local autonomy. The paper pays lip service to local autonomy while actually stifling it. No amendment to the LGC until 2006!

    So, what does the Paper offer? A slow, painfully slow, process of decentralization under the 1987 Constitution! Then, what? The death blow: federalism or the consolidation of provinces into States. No more shall LGU’s be free to manage their affairs! What would States be there for except as a regulatory body? Whoever wrote that “… federalism as an option should be considered to fully operationalize local autonomy and devolution in the country” closes his eyes to the reality that local governments can function well enough without a State to look over its shoulders. And whoever wrote that “federalism is the next logical step after devolution” is far from being logical. Of what use is federalism when the LGU’s have reached their optimum functional level?

    Lest we be misunderstood, let us clarify our stand. We are for amending the 1991 LGC NOW. The changes should be substantial enough to cope with the present political and economic crises. It must be within the framework of the present Charter. Except for the time frame, this is also included in the ten-year plan of federalists. So, the initial conflict would just be in the matter of thrusts and priorities. The real fight should only come 10 years from now when federalism is formally introduced. Unless the federalists contradict its own stand on the LGC, and refuse to cooperate with us!

  26. Leytenian,

    The article states that
    “The Department of Foreign Affairs said the areas of mutual interest between the Philippines and Switzerland include maintaining the high level of exchange visits and continuing political consultations between the two countries started in 2000.”

    Back then, efforts to revise the Charter weren’t even about federalism and PGMA wasn’t even President.

    So the likelihood is that Swiss support would still be here even without the issue of federalization.

    The President however should be ashamed for the Philippines that since that final ruling by the Swiss Federal Court in 1998, she still has to issue an update on the status of the Law on the Compensation of Victims of Human Rights Violations which has been pending since 2004. She was already President at that time and she even certified the bill as urgent in 2006 but to no avail.

    And you haven’t exactly expressed gratitude over the last advice you solicited from me and now; of all things, YOU WANT ME TO DISCUSS WITH YOU HOW TO MAKE MONEY VIA FUNDING FROM THE USAID?

    Heheheh.

    Maybe you should read about the Philippine Children’s Fund of America (PCFA), an NGO that is alleged to be profiting (in terms of material gain) from their supposed charity work.

    The NGO has been suspected of even selling the toys and clothes that have been donated to them for distribution to the needy. (And you even claimed that donations now are directly given to NGOs)

    An offshoot of those allegations is that foreign donations of used clothes are no longer accepted for such works as they are suspected of being channeled to the used clothing business as well as for claimed hygienic and dignity issues.

    Lady, I think I have been as patient with you MORE THAN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

    I think no one can fault me if I start dismissing further assertions from you on these issues as nothing more than BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH ……………………………

  27. Leytenian,

    Thanks for the link: http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:cMLnS5TGF6kJ:www.geocities.com/clrgncpag/dec-fed.doc+local+autonomy+and+federalism+in+philippines&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us. It is a virtual gold mine of arguments for our advocacy. My 12:05pm post is just the tip of the iceberg. It may take some time before I can discuss much of it.

    But so far, I think you delivered the most telling blow against federalism: “… the revenue of our country is smaller than Orlando and Miami. Both city of Orlando and Miami is only run by a mayor. we don’t need useless congress.” I doubt if anyone can beat it.

    justice league,

    Where you are, I was. I learned that it’s just a matter of picking up what works, considering our agenda. Forget about the blog where you say you can’t get in, at least for now. The job’s here.

    Your say on my 12:05pm post, please? We can’t just dismiss other ideas as wanting. A demolition job is thankless but sometimes it has to be done. I hope Leytenian finds my ideas interesting enough to copy and paste. Or could Manolo arrange a better venue? If he can’t come in… After dozens of emails I have yet to receive an acknowledgment from any of our Senators.

    .

  28. Justice,

    hahaha, we will not make money from USAID. US banks are falling down. sorry about blah blah blha.

    “An offshoot of those allegations is that foreign donations of used clothes are no longer accepted for such works as they are suspected of being channeled to the used clothing business as well as for claimed hygienic and dignity issues”

    you are partly true for clothing. this is another issue of corruption. It’s not about blah blha blha.

    Aids are not only in the form of clothing or foods but:
    Japan: On governance assistance
    “Japan will focus on improving the ARMM government’s policy-making capacity and actual policy implementation, and as for the Mindanao region as a whole, we will focus on improvement of basic human needs not only in the form of socio-economic projects but also infrastructure building, and further peace-building measures, in accordance with the Support Package mentioned before.”
    Australia:On Education assistance
    “Australia is recognized as the lead bilateral donor in education through the Philippines Development Forum and whose assistance to basic education is the largest in Mindanao and is now expanding in the Visayas. A high priority of the Australian Government’s aid to the Philippines, about 40% of the Australian aid budget for its 2007-2008 financial year has been earmarked for education programs”
    LIBYA: Welfare programmes
    “The Gaddafi International Foundation for Charitable Association (GIFCA) has been engaged in implementing various socio-economic programmes in Muslim communities in Mindanao for nearly a decade. “

  29. Tax Joven,

    “No more shall LGU’s be free to manage their affairs! What would States be there for except as a regulatory body?”

    Not every State Constitution in the U.S. devote an article on local government.

    Some States don’t but Hawaii has one.

    And Hawaii’s Article VIII-

    TAXATION AND FINANCE
    Section 3. The taxing power shall be reserved to the State, except so much thereof as may be delegated by the legislature to the political subdivisions, and except that all functions, powers and duties relating to the taxation of real property shall be exercised exclusively by the counties, with the exception of the county of Kalawao. The legislature shall have the power to apportion state revenues among the several political subdivisions.

    If you consider our section on local government of
    Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays………

    Section 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as the Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local governments.

    etc…………

    Our Charter seems more liberal on some points on local government than some State Constitutions in the U.S.

  30. Justice League:

    Thank you for the interesting observation. The provision you cited (Sec. 3, Article VIII, Hawaii) is precisely what I was afraid of. It would spell the death of our working institutions: cities and provinces and maybe even barangays. States will sap away their power and wealth!

    One reason why Senator Aquilino Pimentel is pushing for federalism in our country is to “hasten the economic development among the various regions of the country by allocating power which at present is concentrated in the central government to the regions that will be converted to federal states. The devolved powers will allow the federal states to mobilize their resources for development without being hindered or controlled by the central government.”

    This is nonsense. Why must we to create States when we can allocate powers from the central government directly to the LGU’s that have long established rules and procedures in dealing with business? A State has none. So how can it “hasten the economic development…?” What does a political scientist, Dr. Jose Abueva say on this?

    “Meanwhile we have to accelerate the process of government decentralization under the 1987 Constitution both ways: by de-concentrating national government administration to the regional centers and by devolving more national government functions to the local government units through continuing amendments to the Local Government Code of 1991. At the same time, we have to reorient our people… towards greater self-reliance and responsibility through local governance and development, including developing their capacity to raise more local revenues and generate funding for local development, and to attract investments.”12

    This is what the country needs. It is long overdue. This is what Senator Pimentel has neglected for the last 17 years. Now he wants to amend to Constitution when all he had to do was amend the LGC! Dr. Abueva himself can serve the country if he concentrates on this task which he himself outlined. He does a disservice to the country by trying to go further: towards federalism.

    Another reason cited by Senator Nene Pimentel in his bid for federalism is to “dissipate the causes of the recurrent armed Moro challenges against the government and, thereby, lay the basis for a just and lasting peace in Central and Southwestern Mindanao.” 13 Again, this is nonsense. This “recurrent armed Moro challenges against the government” is the product of failed governance and stupid approaches. The issue is neither political nor religious; it is tribal and economic.

    Years of government apathy and neglect caused certain elements to takes up arms just to be noticed. For too long we refused to give Tausog, Maranaos, Bagobo’s, Tibolis and other indigenous peoples their due. Now, we want to give in to the unjust demands of certain armed groups! “Regionalizing” the Ancestral Domain issue would be a big mistake. It is a “local” problem, and therefore must be treated as such. The solution lies in the vigorous implementation of RA 8371 which clearly spells out how to deal with the indigenous peoples.

  31. Tax Joven,

    “Why must we to create States when we can allocate powers from the central government directly to the LGU’s that have long established rules and procedures in dealing with business?”

    1. Real Estate: States can exercise its rights on property law. This will be too large to handle in just one central power. It can easily be manage in a State. The importance of federalism in fostering dynamism and choice can be seen throughout the law of property. another good example, Collection of state taxes and property taxes. The standard data of record is easy for any foreign investors to abide by the rule of the state rather than central unitary system. Managing over 1007 islands in terms of property rights is too large to handle. The concept is to delegate the task to its subsidiary, the State.

    2. Rule of Law:
    National vs. State Government

    Exclusive Powers of the National Government
    include:

    # Print money (bills and coins)
    # Declare war
    # Establish an army and navy
    # Enter into treaties with foreign governments
    # Regulate commerce between states and international trade
    # Establish post offices and issue postage
    # Make laws necessary to enforce the Constitution

    Exclusive Powers of State Governments include:

    # Establish local governments
    # Issue licenses (driver, hunting, marriage, etc.)
    # Regulate intrastate (within the state) commerce
    # Conduct elections
    # Ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution
    # Provide for public health and safety
    # Exercise powers neither delegated to the national government or prohibited from the states by the U.S.
    # Constitution (For example, setting legal drinking and smoking ages.)

    Powers Shared by National and State Government

    Shared, or “concurrent” powers include:

    # Setting up courts
    # Creating and collecting taxes
    # Building highways
    # Borrowing money
    # Making and enforcing laws
    # Chartering banks and corporations
    # Spending money for the betterment of the general welfare
    # Taking (condemning) private property with just compensation

  32. Tax Joven,

    I don’t think we can attarct investment with our current LGU or central power. Foreign investors are motivated to transact business with there’s organization management in a State. They will have options on which state has better incentives for them. Our current system is not working to attract foreign investors. It is too disorganize and the local units ( like mayors and barangays) are too small to transact such international business.

    Redefining Federalism :
    http://www.redefiningfederalism.org/SLES/Sol7.asp

  33. Tax Joven,

    Don’t be misled by mere/more Blah Blah Blah.

    American States (the states or state agencies include New york, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Rhode Island) have in May sued the EPA, a federal agency because it wasn’t strict enough with ozone pollution standards.

    In other words, the States are demanding the federal government for more regulation on them! (or words to that effect)

    And States have sued institutions in other States over pollution. Oklahoma sued several firms in Arkansas over chicken waste used as fertilizer in that farm pollution run off is damaging their tourist-attracting lake.

    And States have contemplated on suing fellow States over the pollution the other States allow to wreak disaster on the other State. Kentucky contemplated on suing Virginia over Virginia’s plans to allow a strip mining company (Consolidation Coal Co.) to discharge more than a billion gallons of briny water into a river just eight miles from where it flows into Kentucky and damage Kentucky’s Fishtrap lake.

    And this will be part of the “inter state competition” and “better incentives” that pro federals like to tout will occur in a federal set up. It is clear that there are instances where States will simply not care what detrimental effects their industries will cause in other States as long as such industries will be theirs. Companies out to make a buck and nothing else will flock to States that will be lenient with regards to environmental issues.

  34. Justice league,

    Good info. Lesson: certain powers have to be retained and enforced by central government, and that each LGU must be vigilant and assertive of its rights.

    Leytenian,

    We have good laws. RPT or real property tax is shared between a province and its constituent municipalities and barangays, except in the case or chartered cities which has the income all to itself. The same is true with income from quarry. Among Ed (Gov. Panlileo of Pampanga) has a problem because while he increased the income of barangays, towns and the province itself, he has, in effect, diminished the personal incomes of many government officials. If you know what I mean.

    Competition for business occurs at the city or town level because it is there where businesses get their permit. Cities or town “spur” economic activity. Provinces play a minor role. So, how could federalism spur economic activity? The size of the base of its operations (city or municipality) has nothing to do with international business!

    Federalists argue that small is better, but they intend to consolidate provinces and “operationalize” them as a state. How could they contradict themselves so? They may have a point, but, is it worth all the trouble? How can we overhaul the system when we can’t even amend or fully implement a simple law?

    The task ahead was so aptly enunciated by a federalist, Dr. Jose Abueva, when he said that: “Meanwhile we have to accelerate the process of government decentralization under the 1987 Constitution both ways: by de-concentrating national government administration to the regional centers and by devolving more national government functions to the local government units through continuing amendments to the Local Government Code of 1991. At the same time, we have to reorient our people… towards greater self-reliance and responsibility through local governance and development, including developing their capacity to raise more local revenues and generate funding for local development, and to attract investments.”12.

    Has he made any move towards this end? I wish he would concentrate on this task, and STOP as soon as it is done. He must abandon all plans of going beyond this point. For the good of the country.

  35. tax joven,

    your approach is incongruous and absurd. the federal system is designed around the idea of decentralization, while a unitary system is designed to work efficiently because of centralization. now, you want to push local autonomy (decentralization) in a unitary system, at the same time you oppose federalism. have you no concept of design?

  36. mindanaoan,

    Thank you for your comment.

    We want to free our LGU’s of Imperial Manila? So why don’t we? We can simply devolve functions and resources directly to LGU’s, can’t we?

    So why do we have to create states? The design is simple enough. Why do we have to complicate it?

    Devolution in our country did not work. Why? Because we devolved the personnel but not the funds. The DA is now awash with funds, which it mismanages. Programs designed to help farmers do not reach the intended beneficiaries.

    Local government can handle food production better than the central government. But if the funds are coursed through states as in federalism, nothing will change. From one collar (imperial Manila) to another (state).

    Do you know that fiscal federalism also applies to a unitary system? The design I object to is the grouping of provinces into regions or states. It is nothing but added red tape and expense.

  37. tax joven,

    i don’t know what you mean by free from imperial manila, but saying we can simply devolve functions and resources to lgu’s to be free from manila is simplistic. government is a very complex system. you cannot rearrange it like you do your furniture. lgu’s are not mini-countries which have the same ,and can accept, devolved functions as the national government

    the goal of federalism is to give autonomy to groups of people who share common concerns and aspirations. so, you can see, devolution of functions to lgu’s (which are at a different level than regions) are off-tangent.

    devolution did not work because it’s a kludge. what was changed were paramaters, which have little effect in huge and complex systems. what’s needed are different and better-suited control and feedback mechanisms, designed specifically to operate for a set of components with a high degree of autonomy but at the same time coordinating efficiently thru a central coordinator. that goal, i submit, is better served by a federal system.

    and lgu’s for food production? what happened to economies of scale?

  38. Mindanaoan,

    “the goal of federalism is to give autonomy to groups of people who share common concerns and aspirations.”

    Article 2.
    Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

    Article 10.
    Section 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.

    Section 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.

    Section 13. Local government units may group themselves, consolidate or coordinate their efforts, services, and resources for purposes commonly beneficial to them in accordance with law.

    Section 14. The President shall provide for regional development councils or other similar bodies composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments and other government offices, and representatives from non-governmental organizations within the regions for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy of the units therein and to accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units in the region.
    ———————————-

    Maybe the groups you are referring to can take advantage of Article 10 sec. 13. If a law stands in the way of that, surely Congress can remedy it.

  39. Mindanaoan: I don’t know what you mean by free from imperial manila, but saying we can simply devolve functions and resources to lgu’s to be free from manila is simplistic. government is a very complex system. You cannot rearrange it like you do your furniture. lgu’s are not mini-countries which have the same, and can accept, devolved functions as the national government.

    Let me answer with a quote from a federalist, Dr. Jose V. Abueva. U.P. Professor Emeritus of Political Science. He said, “… we have to accelerate the process of government decentralization under the 1987 Constitution both ways: by de-concentrating national government administration to the regional centers and by devolving more national government functions to the local government units through continuing amendments to the Local Government Code of 1991. At the same time, we have to reorient our people… towards greater self-reliance and responsibility through local governance and development, including developing their capacity to raise more local revenues and generate funding for local development, and to attract investments.”12

    So you see, mindanaoan, LGU’s need not be mini-countries or states to be able to accept devolved functions. My point: if this recommendation of Dr. Abueva is carried out, what need would there be for federalism? When we can’t even amend and implement a simple law, how can we be expected to succeed in overhauling the whole system?

    Mindanaoan: The goal of federalism is to give autonomy to groups of people who share common concerns and aspirations. So, you can see, devolution of functions to lgu’s (which are at a different level than regions) are off-tangent.

    LGU’s have common concerns and aspirations. Can you say the same of regions or states? As programmed by federalists, states have yet to define their concerns and aspirations as well as operational and financial procedures. We will be off-tangent if we insist in creating regions or states who shall manage the affairs of LGU’s, instead of going directly to the LGU’s.

    Mindanaoan: Devolution did not work because it’s a kludge. What was changed were paramaters, which have little effect in huge and complex systems. What’s needed are different and better-suited control and feedback mechanisms, designed specifically to operate for a set of components with a high degree of autonomy but at the same time coordinating efficiently thru a central coordinator. That goal, I submit, is better served by a federal system.

    You call the 1991 Local Government a kludge? I know it has its share of imperfections and that is precisely I want it amended, but I don’t think Senator Nene Pimentel would be very happy with the term you used. Anyway, do you think our lawmakers can do better with a huge and more complex system as federalism? LGU’s “are different and better-suited control and feedback mechanisms, designed specifically to operate for a set of components with a high degree of autonomy.” It does not need a “central coordinator”.

    You speak of economies of scale. Please remember that we are talking here of LGU’s as against states. Do you really think that a regional based food production program would be more effective than a provincial based one? Can the rice problem be tackled better by states rather than by LGU’s?

    So, please tell me. Is there a need to group provinces into states? How shall we profit from it?

    MQuezon and JNery has made “current” their Managing Crisis, Immigration and Devolution. I was preparing a comprehensive comment, when you came in. I would rather have this dialog.

  40. Justice league, I just posted when I read you comment.

    You just showed us that local autonomy is uppermost in the minds of the framers of the 1987 Constitution. We can avail of its benefits without a cha-cha, and without going into federalism. Legislators only have to do their job.rather than invite us into wild goose chases.

  41. tax joven.

    “We have good laws.”

    Yes, but it has never been understood nor implemented properly

    “In the September 23, 2008 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (global survey ranking countries in terms of perceived corruption), the Philippines dropped to 141st, down 10 places from 2007, among 180 countries surveyed. It scored a 2.3 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), lower than 2007’s 2.5, on a scale where 10 is the highest possible grade. Vincent Lazatin, TI executive director, said: “We are compared to our nearest neighbors Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, with Vietnam seen as eventually overtaking us in a few years. The difference is that (in other countries) when business sets aside money to grease the wheels, they know that they will get what they paid for. In the Philippines, there is no certainty”

    I think the discussion must be broken according to the structure of Congress and the Justice System. These two are conspiring against the people.

  42. tax joven, please note that lgu’s are not the same as the states envisioned by federalism. all the talk about local autonomy in the constitution and the local government code are about lgu autonomy. that’s a different matter.

    as i understand it, federalists who are pushing for devolution do so as an implementation strategy rather than, as it seems you do, confuse it with the goals of federalism.

    to understand the goals of federalism, you have to recognize that the ilocanos, cebuanos, mindanaoans, the muslims, and others, want to be able to move on their own as a group.

    if you look at it even casually, the composition of our country is a natural for a federal system. the present unitary system is a mistake.

  43. mindanaon,

    i agree with you. the leytenians, surigawnon’s and boholano’s are also wanting to move on to.

  44. tax joven, a kludge is a fix, a workaround, to implement something not originally intended in the design. usually, it works clumsily, if at all. devolution, if you want it to implement federalist ideas inside a unitary system is such a thing.

    about food production, are you some kind of socialist? when i mentioned economies of scale, i was thinking that food policy issues are better considered at the national, rather than local or state level.

  45. I like Cha-Cha that provides the implementation of an INTERIM version of it. Why? Because, if it doesn’t work, then a reversion back to where and how the government was to try to make it work again might be wise. Right now, our government is full of G&C shenanigans that any filtration of funds that is intended to get down to the lowest form of local government literally becomes nothing. It’s almost the big government’s version of the Marcos’ regime. The only difference is that during said regime, only Marcos’ hands and his cronies got most of the funds (Example: 4billion dollars to the Marcoses and only 2 billion out of the 6 billion annual US aid went to the people). Nowadays, whatever funds there are, allegedly go to the many hands and pockets of crooked, elected and appointed officials of the government. Like Gomer Pyle said, “Per shame, per shame, per shame!”

    that’s the financial aspect of it.

    The Judicial system must conform to that INTERIM. Ready to prosecute instead of hiding one’s fault.

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