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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. Mindanaoan,

    Local government units go up to as high as Provinces and some even to regions. So the autonomy of such LGUs are as high as provinces or even regions.

    I presume that the LGUs of the Ilocanos for the most part are held by Ilocanos, and the same goes for the Cebuanos, Mindanaoans, Muslims (ARMM), and so forth.

    Surely the provinces of the Ilocanos and so forth should be able to utilize Article 10 Sec. 13.

  2. Leytenian,

    Neither the Leytenians, nor the surigawnons and nor the boholanos are about to get a State all to themselves in the proposals for federalism.

    All those you enumerated are going to be grouped with others (the Leytenians with non-Leytenians, the Surigaonons with non-Surigaonons, the Boholanos with non-Boholanos) in the proposed states so what kind of wanting to move on to are you talking about?

    As to your claim of
    “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.

    In whose or what Cha-Cha proposal has this provision for an implementation of an INTERIM version of it outside of going through the WHOLE process of amending/revising the Charter again?

    Is it Abueva’s?

    Is it Sen. Pimentel’s?

    Is it PGMA’s?

    Is It Speaker Nograles’?

    If their version of ChaCha doesn’t have this provision for “the implementation of an INTERIM version of it”, why are you willing to ChaCha with them?

    (Or is this the part where you do what you do best)

  3. Mindanaoan, I know that the lgu’s are not the same as the states envisioned by federalism. This is precisely why I object to it. I want us to pursue local autonomy as envisioned in the 1987 Constitution, not a false autonomy under federalism.

    I know that federalists push for devolution as a strategy, not as an end in itself. This is precisely why I find it so nonsensical. If we can make local autonomy work, we need not go into federalism. What for? Those who say that federalism is the logical step after decentralization are far from being logical. Federalism will obliterate our gains in local autonomy. States could be more stifling of local initiatives than the central government.

    As I understand it, federalism is not about Ilocanos, Cebuanos, Mindanaons, the Muslims, and others. Such a division could give rise to confusion and even animosity. Do you know where the Ilocanos, the Cebuanos or the Bicolanos are? I think it is about provinces. Which ones should constitute a particular state. And this task wouldn’t be as easy as you imagine. For instance, only Nur Misuari proposes that Mindanao be constituted as a state. Now which one will you give to the Muslims?

    You see the composition of our country as a natural for a federal system. It is not. If it is, how is it that there are so many varying proposals into how the country should be divided?

    The local government code is within the original intent of the constitution. Federalist themselves, cites the advances made through this Code. Devolution is very much a part of a unitary system. See for yourself what federalist say of advances made under the local government code. Then, tell me if it is a kludge.

    In “Decentralization and Federalism in the Philippines: Lessons from Global Community” by Alex B. Brillantes, Jr. and Donna Moscare, declare that, “… 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 in spite of the many constraints, have been able to respond to the enormous challenges brought about by devolution.”

    This of course is not the end of the line. We still have a long way to go before we can make full use of local autonomy allowed by our constitution. And this is what I want us to avail of.

  4. Leytenian, would you rather that Leyte gets its share of national taxes directly from the national treasury? Or that it be coursed through a state? What would you prefer, the whole of the allocation for lgu’s, or only 70% because the 30% will be retained by the states for its operational expenses?

    Mindanaoan, I was thinking of economy of scale in line with production economics. At what size or level could you reach optimum productivity given a set of factors? It’s not about policy. Anyway, I thought we are both for decentralization. Now, you are assigning a simple task back to the national leadership!

  5. justice league, region as lgu? except for ARMM and CAR, that’s not true. there’s no policy making body in regions.

    you are missing the point if you think ilocanos have autonomy because they hold their lgus. do they have a government that looks over them because they are ilocanos?

    to repeat, local autonomy for lgus are not what federalists want. lgus want autonomy because of the unresponsiveness of the national government to their local needs. but at the same time, people also want to have a government for their cultural gorup that they can call their own, something they can live in, rather than live under.

  6. Tax Joven, local autonomy and federalism is not an either-or proposition. as i said before, they are not at the same level, each has it’s own goal, which is not incompatible at all.

    you don’t think a federal system is natural for a country that is geographically , culturally and liguistically diverse? you think it’s better to run it as if it is homogeneous?

  7. Mindanaoan,

    If you read my post again, I never claimed that all go up as high as regions.

    So how is the present set-up preventing the LGUs of Ilocanos from looking over the Ilocanos as Ilocanos?

  8. Tax Joven : “Now, you are assigning a simple task back to the national leadership!”

    now, i think that’s being ridiculous. you cannot devolve all and every national function to local governments. we want to fulfill our different aspirations, but we also have to think about operational efficiency.

    i’m not for decentralization just for the sake of decentralization. our government as a system is unresponsive to local needs, and also doesnt (because of it’s structure, it cannot) represent our aspirations as different groups of people. that is the problem we want to solve. the solution to that, i submit is federalism.

  9. justice league, that’s why there’s “except for…”

    “So how is the present set-up preventing the LGUs of Ilocanos from looking over the Ilocanos as Ilocanos?”

    it is not a function of the present ilocano lgus to look over ilocanos as ilocanos. that is why we are proposing that there should be one.

  10. Mindanaoan,

    So in other words you were in fact saying that what I said as “Local government units go up to as high as Provinces and some even to regions” is true.

    Very well then.

    And so there is no “prevention” at all.

    And what you are implying is that the LGUs of Ilocanos are lacking the initiative to look over the Ilocanos as Ilocanos.

  11. justice league, please note the words ‘some’ and ‘except’ to straighten your logic.

    “no prevention” is not equal to “should”. this is not about initiative but about function and purpose.

  12. Mindanaoan, maybe we should try to be more specific with our assertions. General or motherhood statements will bring us nowhere.

    I said states are unnecessary. I have shown that lgu’s can and do function well enough without them. Now, please tell me why you still want to create states.

    You cited one reason: “the ilocanos, cebuanos, mindanaoans, the muslims, and others, want to be able to move on their own as a group.” I have not seen this kind of division espoused by any known federalist. Anyway, to which state would you assign the Muslims? You mentioned mindanaoan, didn’t you? But, why not separate states each for kapampangans, Igorots and Ibanons too?

    Do I think it’s better to run our country as if it is homogeneous? Yes. Let each tribe foster and nurture their closeness to each member, but, preserve the government’s right to promote and maintain their identity as Filipinos! Have you not experienced inter-regional negativity in national conferences?

    Just between the two of us, mindanaoan, do you really think it is possible to create a Muslim state in Mindanao? Is it practical? Is it feasible? Or will it be a source of more intense conflict than we are experiencing now?

  13. Tax Joven, what you have shown in fact is that devolution did not work after two decades, you being one of those who still cry for its realization. the simple reason it that you want to change the system’s operation by changing its parameters rather than its structure. given that people holding the controls have vested interest in keeping hold of the controls, it’s futile. what’s needed is to change the government structure.

    from a systems perspective, the problem why the government is unresponsive is latency. it takes too long for the government to notice and respond to the problems at the local level. we have to move the controls nearer the evironment to improve this responsiveness. and we are not talking about lgu functions, we are talking about highways, railways, airports, education, etc. things that call for handiing at a level higher than lgus. surely you understand it will be very inefficient if each lgu handles all these functions themselves.

    about the muslims: the muslim areas will form the bangsamoro state. that should be obvious.

    against the desire to give autonomy to our subgroups of people is the matter of efficiency and economics. the igorots are too small to have a state government. so, i generally agree with pimentel’s 11 states.

    we have already the ARMM, what is not feasible? i can’t also see why it will be a source of more conflict, would you care to elaborate?

  14. Mindanaoan, Devolution did not work as effectively as it should because the people holding the controls have vested interest in keeping it. The LGC was not visited after every five years as the law itself mandates because Congress did not want to relinquish power and wealth. Now, what makes you think that a con-ass or a con-con would have a change of heart and suddenly become more generous that the l987 Charter requires? All that is needed is a law that would increase and make automatic the release of funds to lgu’s. Instead, you want to create a new layer of governance called states! Here is where our disagreement begins.

    It takes too long for the government to notice and respond to the problems at the local level so, instead of automatically and directly giving them the needed funds, you want to create a state to oversee how the funds are handled, while effectively retaining 30% of said funds for its maintenance and other operating expenses. You want to “move the controls nearer the environment to improve this responsiveness”. This is what I have been objecting to all along. We need local autonomy for lgu’s, not control. The nearer the control is, the more it becomes pervasive and stifling. This is why I say that federalism would negate our gains at decentralization.

    I agree with you that certain concerns should not be given to lgu’s. What I object to is giving it to states. Here is where your economy of scale should apply. The proposed states are too small to handle “highways, railways, airports, education, etc. things that call for handling at a level higher than lgus”. Surely, it will be very inefficient if states handle these functions themselves. It has to be done at the national level. But, of course, questions on which functions should be devolved and which should be retained by the central government are entirely a different topic. Suffice it to say, for now, that not all functions can be devolved.

    So now, would you agree that economy of scale actually works against federalism, and that nearness does not necessarily mean responsiveness? Also, that it is unwise to divide the country into Ilocanos, Cebuanos, Bicolanos, etc.? Now let’s tackle the Muslim issue. You say that “muslim areas will form the bangsamoro state”. You say that this is obvious. Is it? Will you please name the territories which would constitute what you call muslim areas?

    You say a Muslim state is feasible because of ARRM, an autonomous region. It is not a state. Do you know that each state will have to write its own Constitution? Do you think the issues raised in the failed MOA-AD will not find a place in the new document? If you’re a Christian in a Muslim territory how would shariah affect you? Can’t you see a power struggle scenario in the process of creating a Muslim State? Please fill me in on this. I’m Luzonian.

  15. leytenian : Local autonomy to LGU’s is actually the INTERIM. The next phase is full Federalism in 2012.
    x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x
    Now you’re talking sense again. I want to repeat what I said before, 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.” Also, you provided vital links.

    Before we go out of focus again, please give us a picture of what you call “local autonomy to LGU’s”. How should it be pursued? How does it relate or differ with my advocacy? Who knows that we might arrive at a set-up that would convince federalists of the irrelevance of their cause.

  16. Mindanaoan,

    “justice league, please note the words ’some’ and ‘except’ to straighten your logic.”

    And why should it?

    Is what I said as “Local government units go up to as high as Provinces and some even to regions” untrue? If one is to accept the CAR and the ARMM as the “some” then it is true, isn’t it?

    The National Executive Board of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) (composed of the provincial governors and representatives of metropolitan political subdivisions) has cast their lot for Federalism.

    Other local executives have also expressed their favor for federalism.

    Given such favor; one would expect local executives to be exuding initiative to do as you say like LGUs of Ilocanos looking over Ilocanos as Ilocanos as you can find nothing preventing them from doing so.

    But NO!

    Since by your claim this is not about initiative but rather about “function and purpose”; we have to REWRITE the Constitution so these local executives SHOULD DO what they SUPPOSEDLY WANT TO DO what THEY CAN DO ANYWAY within the present Constitution.

    Did I get that right?

    Gusto nilang gawin! Kaya nilang gawin! Pero hindi nila ginagawa!

    KAYA ANG TANGING SOLUSYON AY PALITAN ANG SALIGANG BATAS!

    Seems it’s not my logic that has to be straightened.

  17. Tax Joven,

    “The LGC was not visited after every five years as the law itself mandates because Congress did not want to relinquish power and wealth. Now, what makes you think that a con-ass or a con-con would have a change of heart and suddenly become more generous that the l987 Charter requires? All that is needed is a law that would increase and make automatic the release of funds to lgu’s”

    so your approach is to continue hoping they have a change of heart and suddenly become more generous, and pass your needed law? but, to repeat, it’s a different matter. local (lgu) autonomy remains the same issue whether we are under a unitary or federal set-up. if your argument against federalism rests on your advocacy of local autonomy, then it’s off-tangent.

    “you want to create a new layer of governance called states!”

    please compare a unitary system and a federal system, and see if a federal system is just a unitary system with some layers added. you will see your statement doesn’t make sense.

    “The nearer the control is, the more it becomes pervasive and stifling.”

    is this some principle from control theory, or did you just make this up?

    “So now, would you agree that economy of scale actually works against federalism”

    why would it, when functions that should be handled at the national level will still be handled at the national level?

    “and that nearness does not necessarily mean responsiveness?”

    are you saying distance doesn’t matter?

    “Will you please name the territories which would constitute what you call muslim areas?”

    ARMM

    “If you’re a Christian in a Muslim territory how would shariah affect you? Can’t you see a power struggle scenario in the process of creating a Muslim State?”

    there are more muslims in christian areas than there are christians in muslim areas, so a modus vivendi will quickly work itself out.

  18. justice league, no, you did not get that right. it will not be the local executives who will be doing the new function of looking over ilocanos as ilocanos. it will be the function of the state executive. no one can do it today, because that office does not exist, hence, the desire to create such an office.

  19. Mindanaoan, I am just hoping that the efforts towards federalism would be channeled, somehow, for more local autonomy. My puny efforts may not count at all, but at least, it cannot be said that I just waited for the roof to fall on us.

    You keep repeating that “Local (lgu) autonomy remains the same issue whether we are under a unitary or federal set-up.” If it’s all the same with you, why change the system? Why bother going into federalism at all?

    I would like very much to compare my idea of local autonomy under a unitary system with any proposed federal structure for our country. So far I have not found any concrete proposal. All that I hear is that every state shall be given leeway to come up with their own ideas. Scary, if you ask me. Do you have any model that is worth looking into? Oh… never mind. It wouldn’t be the final thing anyway.

    Control in the hands of a professional CEO is a management tool. But try giving it to politicians or bureaucrats who will handle your states! It is something you’ll learn from experience, not theories.

    Functions that should be handled at the national level will be handled at the national level. Okay. But why don’t we just devolve functions to provinces and cities, instead of states? LGU’s are prepared to take on more challenges. States have yet to be formed!

    ARMM, the Muslim state! I hope you have THE say on this. I hope you have THE say on the Sharia law that the state will adopt. But since you won’t have any say on these, I hope you don’t have to live there for your sake. Please tell me why the MILF is still so active despite ARMM? Who will get to rule the Muslim state? MILF or MNLF? Who gets crushed in-between? Modus vivendi? Yes, if Christians will agree to be second class citizens!

    Not that I’m biased against Muslims. Try a government run under Christian rule and see what will happen to the Muslims. My bias is against a government based on religion. It should never be allowed. However, as a mere autonomous region is can be tolerable.

    Frictions will be avoided if we just concentrate in developing the provinces and the indigenous peoples living therein. No states. No cha-cha. No religion. Just plain and simple development efforts through local autonomy.

  20. Tax Joven, you are an advocate of lgu autonomy and i’m an advocate of federalism. i look at your advocacy as helpful to mine, but you resent my advocacy because you wish that my effort would be channeled, somehow, to your advocacy. that doesn’t sound reasonable. to understand your opposition to federalism, can you explain to me how, or why, local autonomy is incompatible with a federal set-up? or why a federal system is inappropriate to a multi-culture, multi-language country like ours?

    “If it’s all the same with you, why change the system?”

    i’m beginning to feel we are talking past each other. what is same is the issue of lgu autonomy, whether unitary or federal, it’s the same issue. but lgu autonomy is not our (federalists) goal. our goal is federalism. so, from your perspective it should be the same, but from my perspective it’s not.

    you don’t care for my idea of the proposed federal structure because it wouldn’t be the final thing anyway? should i take it that you believe your idea of local autonomy will be the final thing?

    “It is something you’ll learn from experience, not theories.”

    i don’t know about you, but i believe control systems theory is applicable to any kind of system, and that forms of government are in fact just different configurations of control-feedback objects (government units) inside the system we are considering.

    “Please tell me why the MILF is still so active despite ARMM?”

    the milf is an islamist movement. until the world finds a solution to islamism, we have to live with that problem. they have nothing to do with our form of government. and please don’t confuse ‘muslims’ and ‘muslim rebels’. they are not the same.

    “Modus vivendi? Yes, if Christians will agree to be second class citizens!”

    if christians become second class citizens in the bangsamoro state, the muslims will become second class citizens in our states. that’s the modus vivendi.

    “Frictions will be avoided if we just concentrate in developing the provinces and the indigenous peoples living therein.”

    now, that’s a motherhood statement.

  21. Mindanaoan,

    During the course of the discussion you claimed/stated the following:

    1)-you are missing the point if you think ilocanos have autonomy because they hold their lgus. do they have a government that looks over them because they are ilocanos?

    2)-people also want to have a government for their cultural group that they can call their own

    3)-it is not a function of the present ilocano lgus to look over ilocanos as ilocanos. that is why we are proposing that there should be one.

    4)-“no prevention” is not equal to “should”. this is not about initiative but about function and purpose.

    5)-it will not be the local executives who will be doing the NEW function of looking over ilocanos as ilocanos. it will be the function of the state executive. no one can do it today, because that office does not exist, hence, the desire to create such an office.

    The following comes from the “LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES”

    TITLE ONE. – BASIC PRINCIPLES
    CHAPTER 1. – THE CODE: POLICY AND APPLICATION

    SEC. 5. Rules of Interpretation. – In the interpretation of the provisions of this Code, the following rules shall apply:

    (a)Any provision on a power of a local government unit shall be LIBERALLY INTERPRETED IN ITS FAVOR, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the local government unit concerned;

    (c) The GENERAL WELFARE PROVISIONS in this Code shall be LIBERALLY INTERPRETED to give more powers to local government units in accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people in the community;

    CHAPTER 2. – GENERAL POWERS AND ATTRIBUTES OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS

    SEC. 16. General Welfare. – Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as
    powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units SHALL ENSURE AND SUPPORT, among other things, THE PRESERVATION AND ENRICHMENT OF CULTURE, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

    This Code is nearly 17 years old. Any power, function, attribute, etc. provided here is definitely not new.

    So how does your idea of the LGUs of Ilocanos looking over the Ilocanos as Ilocanos not conform to powers, functions, attributes, etc. already provided herein?

    And btw, how many states do you envision in your proposed federal Philippines anyway?

    I took a look at MLQ3’s blog entry of “Sultan Sa Ramain speaks, 1934” and it listed more than a dozen ethnic groups.

    Since you imply/state that it will be the function of the “state executive” to look over the cultural group as a cultural group, does this mean every cultural group will have a “state executive” and so hence each cultural group will have a state of their own?

    As based on the Blog entry’s map, the Surigaonons are dispersed in about 2 provinces. So will these 2 provinces be 1 state for the Surigaonons?

    The Boholanos are concentrated in the province of Bohol. So will Bohol be a single province state?

    How about the Pangasinenses?

    The Cebuanos and also the Hiligaynons are dispersed over areas/provinces that are not contiguous. Will all the Cebuano’s and Hiligaynon’s areas be considered as a single state respectively?

  22. Mindanaoan, We may indeed be talking past each other. But, maybe only semantics sets us apart. You want federalism. I want power to be divided between central government and local government units. It’s basically the same thing except that you’d like to create states while I want to utilize existing political units.

    We can look at it this way. Since Senator Nene Pimentel is open to suggestions on the number of states to be created, I propose that we create as many states as there are cities and provinces. Let’s share or devolve the central government’s power with them as we would do to states. The powers that would be shared with lgu’s would naturally be smaller than those that we would give to states. But, who knows that it might be the best arrangement for us. Remember that there are no hard and fast rules on this.

    Federalism differs from country to country, and between federal and unitary systems are varying hues and blends. Fortunately, we’re free to choose or construct the kind that would work for us, given what our aspirations are and the resources that we have. Closest to my heart is the Spanish model which is a highly decentralized unitary system. For this, you may have to rethink your idea of federalism as a goal. Would you really pursue federalism for federalism’s sake?

    The beauty of treating lgu’s as though they’re states, but not calling them as such, is that we can go for the fruits promised by federalism without actually going into it, and without the costs. No need for an expensive and debilitating cha-cha. Only plain and simple legislative action! But, truly we have to fight for it. With your help, we might succeed.

  23. hvrds : Two Republicans so far have been responsible for ballooning the U.S. Federal Debt. Reagan and off course Bush 43. He has increased the national debt by an amount that is more than the combined debt since G.Washington.

    Aren’t you concerned at all that Philippine presidents have been doing the same thing for decades? Where’s you pinoy sense?

  24. justice league, for all the things you enumerated, which of these lgu’s is concerned with the welfare and development of ilocandia as a whole?

    i agree with pimentel’s 11 states.

    boholano, if you care to know, is a dialect of cebuano. from a national perspective, boholanos and cebuanos, even siquijodnons are the same people.

  25. Tax Joven, are you sugesting we maintain public works department in every lgu?

    some functions need to be handled at a state level, that’s why we need states

  26. PSI: Worrisome are duplicate costs from redundant functions.

    leytenian: “… 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.”
    x-x-x-x-x-x-x

    Double cheers! 75 senators and 350 congressmen? A billion jeers!

    mindanaoan, Are you actually proposing 11 public works department for the country? And other departments as well? You’ve got to be kidding! A public works department is too big even for a state. All departments should remain with the national government. Only certain functions must be devolved to the lgu’s. Please don’t ask me which ones. Let’s leave the task to experts and legislators.

  27. tax joven,

    Federalism will not change the structure of the Executive Department. It’s function and duty will be carried out and implemented at the LGU ( city or municipality) depending on the needs of the people. Just like what we have right now. Nothing will change except budgets will come from city revenue. If not enough , it will come directly from NGO’s or other foreign aids or federal government.

    Your local autonomy alone with the same centralized power has never been tested to function in the long term especially in the emerging countries. Whereas Federalism is a very flexible system that is applicable to our country with so much diversity: 1007 islands, ethnicity, languages, natural resources unique in one region, size and wealth. Local autonomy alone will not work. It has been proven that central congress comprising of many senators who are from manila are not representing the LGU of Mindanao and the Visayans Island. We want our own kind to manage our own.

    how can 11 States be content with the same constitutional status? How can federalism be flexible enough to respect both the principle of equality and that of diversity?”There are three methods: financial asymmetry, constitutional asymmetry and optional asymmetry. Elements of all three can be found in the Canadian federation.

  28. Local autonomy is a feature of Federalism. Fiscal federalism is a system of transfer payments or grants by which a federal government shares its revenues with lower levels of government . It means local autonomy of revenue.

    Three types of power of a Federal System. Let’s assume we formed the 11 States.
    1. Reserved Power- All powers retained by the 11 states are known as reserved powers.

    2. Those specifically granted only to the Executive/ Federal/Central government are known as enumerated powers.

    3. Concurrent Matters -both the Federal/Union and the state governments have control

  29. Mindanaoan,

    “justice league, for all the things you enumerated, which of these lgu’s is concerned with the welfare and development of ilocandia as a whole?”

    It will be ANYTHING/ANYONE resulting from the MOA signed by ANY and ALL LGUs of Ilocanos who do care about the welfare and development of Ilocandia whether as a whole or even in part.

    Local Government Code-
    Article Three. – Inter-Local Government Relations
    SEC. 33. Cooperative Undertakings Among Local Government Units. – Local government units may, through appropriate ordinances, group themselves, consolidate, or coordinate their efforts, services, and resources for purposes commonly beneficial to them. In support of such undertakings, the local government units involved may, upon approval by the sanggunian concerned after a public hearing conducted for the purpose, contribute funds, real estate, equipment, and other kinds of property and appoint or assign personnel under such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the participating local units through Memoranda of Agreement.

    Apparently that was already an application of Article 10 Sec. 13 and it has already been used.

    3 coastal municipalities in Iloilo banded together to rehabilitate the depleted resources of Banate bay and they created the Banate Bay Resource Management Council on February 28, 1996 comprised of representatives from the participating municipalities.

    As per agreement of the 3 towns, the council had the SOLE POWER to regulate, protect, and rehabilitate Banate Bay.

    2 years later, they won the Galing Pook Foundation Award for Marine Resources Conservation and Management.

    So you agree with Sen. Pimentel’s 11 states.

    As per Senate Joint resolution 10, it states that:

    (A) The State of Northern Luzon.
    The State of Northern Luzon shall comprise the provinces of llocos Norte, llocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Until provided otherwise by the State Legislature, Tuguegarao City shall be the capital of the State.

    Well, too bad for the Pangasinenses and the Ivatans.

    And also there is an interesting provision which reads

    New Section. Article I. Dissolution, Secession or Separation of States.
    No State may dissolve itself, secede or separate from the Federal Republic unless it first secures the approval of two-thirds of its qualified voters in a plebiscite called for that purpose. Thereafter, the Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, voting separately, act on the proposed dissolution, secession or separation of the State concerned.

    Hmmmmm. Very Interesting.

    “boholano, if you care to know, is a dialect of cebuano. from a national perspective, boholanos and cebuanos, even siquijodnons are the same people.”

    I have my own issues about Ethnologue but Ethnologue entertains that it is sometimes considered a different language.

    But it’s down to language now, isn’t it? Well too bad for the Surigaonon speakers (of Surigao del Norte and parts of Surigao del Sur) then. They don’t seem large in number and Sen. Pimentel’s proposal doesn’t even place them together in the same state.

  30. Leytenian,

    You choose not to answer very specific questions. For example, wouldn’t Leyte be better off if funds are directly released to it rather than through a state? Instead, you gave vague assertions. Frankly, I can’t get anything from your first paragraph. Every sentence in it is a puzzle by itself.

    “Federalism will not change the structure of the Executive Department.” Please explain. Will it remain national, or will it be copied as is in every state? “Its function and duty will be carried out and implemented at the LGU ( city or municipality) depending on the needs of the people.” Vague! “Just like what we have right now.” What do you mean? “Nothing will change except budgets will come from city revenue. If not enough, it will come directly from NGO’s or other foreign aids or federal government.” By city, are you perhaps referring to the state? So who determines whether enough is enough? Are you saying that federal government’s participation in state revenue is just in the category of NGO or foreign sources, aid? Are you also saying that a state will depend on aid for its operations or survival?

    “Local autonomy alone will not work.” Local autonomy is working. Federalists say so themselves, as I quoted earlier. Yet I am not satisfied with what we have. I want it strengthened through legislation. No need for a cha-cha. Yes, federalism is a very flexible system but please show us how it shall be “flexed” enough to suit our country’s unique needs. States, unlike lgu’s, will encounter problems related to the diversity because in any combination of provinces cultures, traditions and aspirations would not be as homogeneous as it is in provinces or cities. The lgc, however, has provisions for cultural and economic linkages within the regions, as cited by justice league.

    All we need are automatic and sufficient shares from national taxes. Senators or lawmakers are irrelevant even at state levels. Whatever made you think that Leyte will be better off if you have your own Senators nearby? Senators are not managers, they’re lawmakers. Lawmaking must remain national. Mere ordinances will suffice for local concerns. Your own can better manage your own at the city, provincial and barangay rather than at state level. States, at best, would be unwieldy structures; at worst, it could gobble up your meager resources.

    “How can 11 States be content with the same constitutional status?” Of course it can’t, so why create them? Using the Canadian federation as model is a big joke because our income is even much smaller than any of its states. Instead, let’s take a look at any of its states, say, Quebec or Ontario. Essentially, isn’t it working as a unitary system? How come it’s so successful? How about Japan and China? Are we in any way more diverse than any of them?

  31. Tax Joven,

    “All departments should remain with the national government”

    this makes our discussion a little clearer because it is at this level that we have our disagreement and not at the lgu level. people in the provinces find the responsiveness of the deparments (let’s call them that, to make it short) wanting. good for you if you are in manila where people in a flooded barangay have no trouble calling on the secretary of the dpwh to fix their problem. but dpwh in the provinces is so exasperating that at one point, cebu threatened to throw out the dpwh and do the work themselves. that’s why federalism is popular among lgu executives. they want lgu autonomy, but unlike you, they also like the idea of federalism, where like manilans, they can also call the department secretary to fix their problem.

    and what do you mean by ‘a public works department is too big for a state’? is it about land area, or people, that has to be some size? surely you are aware of some countries smaller than our proposed states. do you think they shouldn’t have a public works department?

  32. justice league, so it’s okay for you if the lgu’s cooperate in a form of cooperative but not if it’s in a form of government? are you against their forming their own government as a whole because it’s detrimental to them, or is it detrimental to the whole country? or is it because it will lessen the derivative benefits of the concentration of power and resources in manila?

    “I have my own issues about Ethnologue but Ethnologue entertains that it is sometimes considered a different language.”

    cebuano and boholano is mutually intelligible i have to doubt the credentials of any linguist who say boholano is a different language. it’s like saying batangueno is a different language.

    “But it’s down to language now, isn’t it? Well too bad for the Surigaonon speakers…”

    it’s not language, it’s ethno-linguistic groupings. we should ask the surigaonons which one they like better, to be under this unitary system, to have a separate state, or become part of a mindanaoan state? or for that matter, we should ask the boholanos whether they want a separate state or be part of a central visayan state? the answer should be obvious.

  33. Mindanaoan,

    There was a thread here in MLQ3’s blog about “SPIN”.

    SPIN! SPIN! SPIN!

    But moving on to your present questions.

    “so it’s okay for you if the lgu’s cooperate in a form of cooperative”

    Given the present Constitution and laws as I know them; I’m going to say yes.

    “but not if it’s in a form of government”

    Hmmmmm….. Is it okay for you if they coooperate in a monarchic, communistic, dictatorial ………. form of government?

    “are you against their forming their own government as a whole because it’s detrimental to them, or is it detrimental to the whole country?”

    Is that a serious question? I suggest you go back to my earlier answer above.

    “or is it because it will lessen the derivative benefits of the concentration of power and resources in manila?”

    There is all this BLAH BLAH BLAH from certain public officials allegedly in support of deconcentration of power and resources so why don’t you cash in on such support right now WITHIN the present Constitution.

    I agree to your deconcentration as long as you do it within this present Constitution.

    “cebuano and boholano is mutually intelligible i have to doubt the credentials of any linguist who say boholano is a different language.”

    I wrote them earlier about another concern and you’re definitely free to bring up your issue with them.

    “it’s not language, it’s ethno-linguistic groupings. we should ask the surigaonons which one they like better, to be under this unitary system, to have a separate state, or become part of a mindanaoan state? or for that matter, we should ask the boholanos whether they want a separate state or be part of a central visayan state? the answer should be obvious.”

    Well you ALREADY AGREED to Sen. Pimentel’s 11 states.

    So when did all these concern for asking the surigaonons and boholanos come in?

  34. I mean going back to my earlier answer above on the question of cooperating in a form of government.

  35. justice league,

    surely you are aware that the present constitution allows revision to itself, and that the resulting revision will become THE constitution and your argument will fall flat because at that time it will be the present constitution?

    asking the surigaonons and the boholanos was a rhetorical question. we know they are not clamoring for their own separate states.

    so, again, what is it about federalism you find objectionable? is it detrimental to anyone, to any group, or to our country as a whole?

  36. Mindanaoan,

    1) “surely you are aware that the present constitution allows revision to itself”

    Of course!

    2) “and that the resulting revision will become THE constitution”

    Yes!

    3) “and your argument will fall flat because at that time it will be the present constitution”

    If that Constitution will allow a set up of a Dictatorial form, etc……….. MY ARGUMENTS FALLING FLAT WILL BE THE LEAST OF MY CONCERNS!

    4) “asking the surigaonons and the boholanos was a rhetorical question.”

    Ahhhhhhhh! So you weren’t concerned in asking after all.

    5) “so, again, what is it about federalism you find objectionable?”

    Well definitely you are going to drag us into a costly process of revising the Charter for federalism for issues you haven’t convinced anyone other than YOUR CHOIR is not achievable in the present Constitution as well as the dissolution and near dissolution of Federal countries, etc ……………..

    6) “is it detrimental to anyone”

    If it leads to the fragmentation of the country; it’s going to be detrimental to a lot of “anyones”.

    7) “to any group”

    Well we could ask the Pangasinenses, Ivatans, Surigaonons, etc….. about that concern.

    Ahhhh. I remember. You are not concerned to ask, right?

    8) “or to our country as a whole”

    There have been a number of instances where the “wholeness” of a federal country has undergone/undergoing considerable danger and there a number of federal countries that AREN’T EVEN WHOLE anymore.

  37. justice league,

    “Well definitely you are going to drag us into a costly process…”

    the constitution defines the procedure on how to revise it, and if the proponents of the revision comply with all of its requirements, we are bound by the same constitution to entertain them, aren’t we, cost and all?

    “If it leads to the fragmentation of the country; it’s going to be detrimental to a lot of “anyones”.”

    the purpose of giving autonomy to the regions is to address the complaint that their is an unequitable distribution of government resources and services among the regions. the question is, why would there be more desire to secede if this source of discontentment is removed, than if this discontentment remain?

    “Ahhhh. I remember. You are not concerned to ask, right?”

    you made it sound as if i don’t care about the these people, when it’s you who don’t care about the aspirations of other people.

    “There have been a number of instances where the “wholeness” of a federal country has undergone/undergoing considerable danger and there a number of federal countries that AREN’T EVEN WHOLE anymore.”

    can you prove that it’s their federal form of government that’s causing them to break up, and that had they been unitary they wouldn’t have broken up? which among the 26 federal countries do you have in mind that’s undergone/undergoing considerable danger?

    i think you fear is unwarranted. in fact, we can become united only if we recognize that we are not one.

  38. it’s definitely very difficult to explain federalism to senators who are lawyers because they may not be able to understand the management aspect of public service. besides , our judicial system is number 6th of the most corrupt in Asia. why should I trust the Senate from Manila? The provinces and the middle class have lost their respect. Politicians in our country is not a noble job. It’s always been dirty and it needs some kind of shock- like Federalism.

    Read Canadian Federalism, Read European Federalism, Read all the progressive countries Federalism for better understanding. google search .. local autonomy is lip service. it is very short term not long term.

  39. tax joven,

    “How can 11 States be content with the same constitutional status?” it can’t”

    yes it can. devolution of power under One Constitution, subsidiarity and delegating tasks. Management of the Law

    Local autonomy has been practice by many cities already. Your proposal is not NEW. It’s been implemented by Cebu, Davao, Quezon City and other major cities in the country. What’s setting us back in our country is the conflict in Mindanao. Give them the State they want and give the Visayans State they want. Our management style of local autonomy scares foreign investors. FDI is not attractive in our country. e don’t have clear rules and regulations.

    “How about Japan and China? Are we in any way more diverse than any of them?”

    You are comparing apples to banana. China is not as stable as you think.

  40. Federalism Checks the Power of the Central Government:

    Here are some lessons we can learn from the american federalism:

    “Vesting power in two levels of government, dividing it by making each level supreme in its separate sphere, was one solution to the problem of how to grant necessary authority to government without creating such concentrated power that liberty would suffer.

    • Federalism’s ability to accommodate local issues also contributes to democracy by decentralizing policies and politics. States can adopt widely varying policies on the same problem, thereby providing the means for citizens to live in a state where the policy suits their moral or cultural values.

    • The states often are called laboratories of democracy, and for good reason. Innovative programs and policies from welfare and educational reform to health and safety regulation repeatedly have come first from state governments. Long before the national government acted, a number of states abolished slavery, extended the right to vote to women, African Americans, and 18-year-olds, and provided for the direct election of U.S. senators, among other reforms.

    • A federal system also expands participation in politics and government: the more levels of government, the greater the opportunity to vote and hold office. Many of these offices are training grounds for future national leadership.

    • Additional levels of government also increase access to decision-making in ways other than holding office. Interest groups blocked from influence at one level of government may find a better reception for their ideas at another level. During the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights advocates faced strong opposition from Southern states that opposed racial integration, but they found support in the national government for their efforts to achieve racial equality.

    • Finally, federalism enhances democracy by providing a platform for effective criticism and opposition to governmental policies and practices. A political party out of power nationally still may capture state and local offices that allow it to challenge national priorities or decisions. ”

    http://www.america.gov/st/usg-english/2007/January/20071128094357abretnuH0.8318903.html

  41. Success of India’s Democracy thru Federalism: Unity in Diversity

    ” A changed federal system
    India has moved a long way from co-operative federalism, where states and the central government jointly plan and carry out programs, to competitive federalism – where individual states compete in terms of services offered, including lower tax bases. The country still has a strong central government, but it does not have the same clout as it once wielded in the days when CONGRESS was the dominant party .”

    http://www.forumfed.org/en/products/magazine/vol7_num1/india_cajoling.php

  42. Mindanaoan,

    1) “the constitution defines the procedure on how to revise it, and if the proponents of the revision comply with all of its requirements, we are bound by the same constitution to entertain them, aren’t we, cost and all”

    Yup. I’m not averse to revising the Constitution per se. But that “cost and all” goes hand in hand with issues you can’t defend as not achievable in the present Charter.

    2) “the purpose of giving autonomy to the regions is to address the complaint that their is an unequitable distribution of government resources and services among the regions.”

    Read the Constitution and read the laws. Congress seems amenable to give more autonomy by revising the Charter so there should be little reason for them to deny it in the present one so they should be agreeable to amending the Local Government Code etc…….

    3) “the question is, why would there be more desire to secede if this source of discontentment is removed, than if this discontentment remain?”

    I looked up Senate Joint Resolution #10 which embodies Sen. Pimentel’s proposal.

    If Sen. Pimentel didn’t entertain the possibility of any desire to secede even if ANY source of discontentment has already been removed; why is there an article on “Dissolution, Secession or Separation of States”?

    Did you bother to read Senate Joint Resolution #10?

    4) “you made it sound as if i don’t care about the these people, when it’s you who don’t care about the aspirations of other people.”

    Oh I do care enough.

    But I’m not the one unable to justify that those aspirations can’t be attained with the current Constitution.

    5) “can you prove that it’s their federal form of government that’s causing them to break up, and that had they been unitary they wouldn’t have broken up”

    I never claimed that their federal form of government that’s causing them to break up.

    What is definite is that their federal form of government was unable to prevent it and that runs smack against claims that a federal form of government will prevent secession.

    And that in certain instances it makes it EASIER to secede. Read Senate Joint Resolution #10. Read about Quebec.

    6) “which among the 26 federal countries do you have in mind that’s undergone/undergoing considerable danger?”

    Is that a serious question?

    There’s Canada with Quebec, India with Kashmyr and Jammu, Pakistan with Bangladesh, USA with ………………..

    7) “i think you fear is unwarranted.”

    Not based on above.

    Well I already told you to cash in on all that BLAH BLAH BLAH by politicians by demanding them the deconcentration of power and resources WITHIN the present Constitution.

    I THINK I WILL BE MOVING ON NOW.

    But just in case you want to pursue a federalist cause without the ability of defending it; you have my permission to use the battlecry below in its totality!

    “Gusto nilang gawin! Kaya nilang gawin! Pero hindi nila ginagawa!

    KAYA ANG TANGING SOLUSYON AY PALITAN ANG SALIGANG BATAS!”

    Bye. And thanks for explaining the smiley.

  43. Leytenian: What’s setting us back in our country is the conflict in Mindanao. Give them the State they want and give the Visayans State they want.

    How do you want this done? How many states does Mindanao want? How will this resolve the Mindanao conflict?

    Local autonomy is practiced throughout the country, not just in the provinces and cities you mentioned. I just want to give them more.

  44. This post is from http://fedecentralize.wordpress.com/

    What’s in a name? If this were the case I’d also go for federalism: shared powers between central government and its constituent political subdivisions. Only, I won’t call it federalism. Also, I won’t refer to the political subdivisions as states. Instead I’d call them as they are: provinces and chartered cities. It may not be constitutionally mandated, but it is allowed.

    Sharing powers with lgu’s rather than states is not just about working within the parameters of the 1987 Constitution. It has its intrinsic merits. It is doable now or anytime, it is less expensive and disruptive, and it can go for the fruits promised by federalism while deflecting the dangers poised upon our poor country be federalists. Senator Nene Pimentel says that his federalism will cause the speedy development of the entire country by unleashing the forces of competitiveness among the States. Nothing is farther from the truth. The real competition is between and among cities and municipalities, not even among provinces. Most businesses are either city or town based. It is there where businesses get their permits. States cannot and should not alter this arrangement.

    Val Abelgas disputes the Senator’s claim in his article entitled The Folly of Federalism, thusly: “It will create additional layers of bureaucracy that will lead to even more red tape, corruption and confusion. Businessmen and investors will be the most adversely affected as they will have to contend with conflicting and confusing laws from various states/regions. Can you imagine 11 states with their own agencies on commerce and industry, housing, health, transportation, education, etc. and the federal government having its own, too, all with their own sets of rules?”

    Another claim by Senator Pimentel is that his federalism will dissipate the causes of rebellion in the country, Mindanao in particular. The opposite is true. His kind of federalism will enhance the causes of rebellion in the country: poverty through failed governance. The shift towards federalism is so expensive and disruptive that it will aggravate the sufferings of our people leading to further destabilization. It will eat up resources that otherwise could go towards poverty alleviation.

    In an article entitled Financing Federalism Leonor Magtolis-Briones wrote: “Students of public finance have been pointing out that the creation of an additional layer of government—namely the state—will inevitably lead to higher levels of expenditures. This is because the machinery of the states has to be maintained, along with that of the federal government and the local government units. Pressure for higher levels of expenditures will inevitably lead to pressure for increased levels of taxes.” This concern does not even mention the added cost of maintaining 75 Senators and 350 Congressmen. Senator Nene Pimentel probably thinks that we are overjoyed with the antics of our do nothing Senators and Congressmen that he wants to create and create more and more of them!

    It not just federal financing that will aggravate the causes of rebellion. Mere creation of states also will. It will create diversity and conflict where there is none. I believe in unity in diversity. But creating a union to create diversity is another thing. This is what happens when provinces are formed into a state. To be able to understand this point better, please take a look at the proposed State of Northern Luzon. It shall comprise the provinces of llocos Norte, llocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Until provided otherwise by the State Legislature, Tuguegarao City shall be the capital of the State. Even the seemingly homogeneous Bicol region would experience one form of inter-provincial conflict or another. Wait ‘til they start defining the rules. Wait ‘til Masbate and Catanduanes start fighting it out for the state’s attention!

    But nothing so bad will happen in Luzon and in the Visayas compared to what Mindanao would go through if it tries to organize and operate a Muslim state. I don’t know why anyone would promote the organization of a state based on religion, more so if it is done at gunpoint. I would not want theocracy for even the worst of my enemies. I would not will it for Muslims or Christians. I shudder at the specter of another MOA-AD, a version far more bloody than one can ever imagine. The Muslim problem sprung from years of government apathy and neglect. It is a condition shared by Christian settlers as well. It is neither political nor religious. It is economic, stupid!

    Senator Nene Pimentel succeeded in getting the support of ULAP and other local government organizations by using a bait called 20/80. They can see the figures, but not the hook! History will be repeating itself once more as when Congress devolved the functions of agriculture, social welfare and health services. It conveniently forgot to provide the necessary funds. The curses of the aggrieved devolved personnel are still on the lead man, Senator Nene Pimentel. Now he wants to strike LGU’s a more lethal blow. Actually very little of the 80% state share would reach the LGU’s because its 30% share will likely be not be enough for its own maintenance and other operating expenditures. The result will be more confusion, wrangling and hardships.

    Federalists brag that opposition to federalism springs from ignorance. The contrary is true. Many people support federalism because of ignorance. They will reject federalism if they know what it is. One supporter thought that there will be a state for Ilocanos, Cebuanos, Bicolanos, etc. Alas it is not to be so. A blogger who posted at MLQ3 blog wrapped in a flag as justice league has this to say:

    “… just in case you want to pursue a federalist cause without the ability of defending it; you have my permission to use the battle cry below in its totality!”

    “Gusto nilang gawin! Kaya nilang gawin! Pero hindi nila ginagawa! KAYA ANG TANGING SOLUSYON AY PALITAN ANG SALIGANG BATAS!”

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