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Published On: Wed, Aug 8th, 2018

KAMI NEWS: Federalism Pros and Cons for Philippines

The Philippines is at present under a unitary type of government – this implies the central government is the highest administering power. It gets a huge piece of each region’s income and then redistributes it.

What is federalism in the Philippines?

Image/ Eugene Alvin Villar http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Seav

Federalism is a proposed type of government in which sovereignty is devided between the national government and subdivisional governments, (for example, states). Federal system separates the country into a few self-sufficient states with a national government.

The self-ruling states are additionally devided into local government units. They will have the responsibility over building up their nearby enterprises, general wellbeing and security, education, transportation, and culture. These states have more control over their funds, policies, strategies, and laws.

In the past, the Philippines has had attempts at a reform towards a federal system of government – during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, she recommended federal decentralization as one of the goals of the proposed charter change. However, the attempt failed because opposition from various sectors believes this reform was used to extend her term limit.

What are pros of federalism for Filipinos?

  • Under a federal type of government, states are enabled to settle on their own choices. They never again need to depend on the central government to choose for them.
  • Decentralization in the Philippines would enable states to keep a greater amount of their income to themselves. They don’t need to depend on real estate tax and business permit fees  – 80% of their income stays, while just 20% returns to the national government.
  • Since states can both settle on their own choices and hold the wage they need to finance these choices, and this can advance specialization and competition.
  • Philippines President Duterte presents federalism as a possible solution to the Mindanao conflict instead of implementing the Bangsamoro Basic Law. According to him, “nothing short can bring peace in Mindanao.”. This is likely a reference to the numerous revisions the BBL has undergone, and the number of years it has stayed in Congress.

Public domain image/Natsirtj

What are cons of a federalism in the Philippines?

  • The primary issue the Philippines would need to resolve would be the overlaps in jurisdiction. Unless responsibilities of state governments and national governments are very clearly stated in the amended Constitution, there will be ambiguities that can lead to conflict and confusion
  • Next, there is always a possibility that there might be more division than unity in the Philippines.
  • Additionally, it’s possible that improvement of the states in an federal type of government won’t work at all. A major concern is that while some states may develop faster – other states may devolve faster as well. In any case, in some elected nations, the national government provides funds to help immature states.

What would the Philippines look like under federal form of government?

Past proposals divided the Philippines into 10 or 11 autonomous states. President Duterte envisions 18 federated regions – 16 federated regions (including the new Negrosanon region) and the federated regions of Bangsamoro and Cordillera.

Regional states will have greater power over raising their own revenues, determining their own legislation and choosing their economic development models.

While the possibility of federalism in the Philippines is appealing for most Filipinos, the conceivable advantages will unavoidably include some significant downfalls, and will require broad time and exertion from both governments and residents alike.

Source: Kami News Media

Author: Sheikh Huzaifa

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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