President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is tagged as the Federalist of our time because his ultimate mission is to federalize the Philippines. This move for federalism is to eliminate the causes of inequalities, injustices and internal imperialism. This seems like a dream to those who experience some form of discrimination and neglect from the very government that is supposed to look out for the well-being of its people. However, majority of Filipinos ask what is federalism? How can this abstract concept of government help the poor whose main concern is where to get their next meal?
To shed light on this complicated topic, DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) and MRRD – NECC (Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte – National Executive Coordinating Committee) distributed a 48-page primer. It is called DILG and MRRD – NECC People’s National Movement for Federalism (PENAMFED) Federal – Parliamentary for the Philippines. It is an educational material that contains what every Filipino should know regarding federalism.
This entry is the first of a two-part feature. This one focuses on everything federalism with the exception of the three branches of the federal government. To read the second part, please proceed here.
I reiterate that the content of this entry is mainly from the primer made by DILG and MRRD – NECC People’s National Movement for Federalism (PENAMFED) Federal – Parliamentary for the Philippines. I edited some for brevity and order.
What is federalism?
Federalism refers to the mixed or compound mode of the government, combining a general or central government with regional governments (provincial, state, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. It is a relationship of parity (equality) between two levels of governments.
Federalism is more than a political system, it is a socio-economic system where powers are devolved (delegated or transferred to a lower level), resources are shared and development is dispersed to all.
Why shift from unitary presidential system (which is the current system in the Philippines) to federal-parliamentary system?
The Philippines has 7,107 islands and as such it is socially, economically, culturally and politically diverse, but Metro Manila has long been the center and source of everything. Under the federal-parliamentary system, every local government unit will be empowered. Each region will have its own governance within the limits of the Philippine Constitution, but with the full support of the federal government. This way, all regions in the Philippine will have the opportunity to improve the lives of their people.
Advantages of Federal – Parliamentary System over Unitary Presidential System
- It encourages constructive competition for social, economic, cultural and political development among the federal states (regions).
- It ends the dependence of the states on the national government for solicited funding support.
- It empowers the federal states to exploit and utilize their natural resources for their own development without undue interference from the national government.
- It dissipates the cause of armed uprising and insurgency and lays down the basis for just and lasting peace in every state and the country as a whole.
- It facilitates the enactment of laws and the formulation of policies to immediately respond to the needs of the time.
- It promotes self-reliance, self-sufficiency and self-governance by the federal states with continued and unsevered allegiance to the national government.
Does the federal – parliamentary system mean that the federal states (regions) will have their own laws, flags, money, etc?
No. Under the federal – parliamentary system, the federal government operates under one federal constitution, one flag, one armed forces, one national guard, one monetary system, one foreign policy, one emblem, and one central bank.
What is the political structure of the federal system?
The image below shows the political structure of federal system.
What will happen to the division of power?
The image below shows power sharing under federal system.
What will happen to taxes sharing under the federal system?
The image below shows where tax will be collected and how it will be shared by the federal and the regional governments.
What will happen to the impoverished states?
There shall be an equalization fund to provide financial support to the marginalized states to assist in the acceleration of their development. The funds shall be taken from the top five affluent states of the country in terms of revenues.
What will happen to national economy and patrimony under the federal system?
The federal system will adopt the provisions of the 1987 Constitution regarding national economy and patrimony. However, balanced agro-industrial and export-oriented economy and capitalism with strong social responsibility will be highly promoted.
Will the national territory of the Philippines change under federal – parliamentary system?
The definition of our national territory under the 1987 Constitution shall be retained.
What will happen to the citizenship of Filipinos?
The citizens of the Philippines as enumerated under the 1987 Constitution shall be adopted in the New Constitution.
What are examples of unitary countries?
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Khazakstan and Lebanon, together with the Philippines, are unitary countries.
What are examples of federal countries?
Federal countries are Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, and United States of America.
For related entries, please read DILG and MRRD – NECC PENAMFED’s Federalism – Branches of the Government, My MRRD – NECC Experience, My Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong Experience, Mayor Duterte at MRRD – NECC, and The People’s Call – Year One.