Under federalism, EVERY Filipino tribe will find out what they are REALLY made of

At the moment, every boy and his dog is writing one or another bit of “analysis” on the matter of the Philippines’ transformation into a federal republic. Under a federal system of government, each state is given autonomy to sort out its own affairs leaving the feds to handle the bigger issues of national consequence like national defense, taxation, foreign policy, the postal service, etc. States will then be at liberty to chart their own destinies just like the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has presumably been doing since being granted autonomy in 1989.

There really is no need to quibble on “practical details” as most garden-variety pundits are wont to do in wrapping their heads around this matter. The bigger concept at work here is the idea that, given autonomy and freedom to do as they please, people (and states) would set out to define strategic goals that best fit their unique natures and do what is in their best interests. The underlying assumption here is that all parties involved in the federal journey are adult enough to use their freedom and autonomy wisely.

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The reality is, not all people and not all communities of people are created alike. Like how a brood of kids who were raised by the same parents under the same households always turn out into different adults and go on to achieve different degrees of success (or failure), states that are set free to deal with the wonderful world of federalism will very likely exhibit different outcomes over the long-term. In essence, a federal republic will provide an environment that will set apart the men from the boys. Those that have an inherent capability to prosper will have a higher probability of becoming prosperous states, and those that have less inherent ability will languish. That’s just the way it’s gonna be.

In short, under a federal republic, each Philippine state will have only one scapegoat for failure — itself. Those states that go on to succeed and prosper will be at full liberty to laugh all the way to the bank while patting themselves on the back.

Many of these two-bit pundits will cite the sad case of the ARMM as a scare mongering tactic to turn Filipinos off to the merits of a federal system. Unfortunately for them, the ARMM is just one case study in what could potentially be a set of a dozen or so states serving as competititve case studies in a fully-federalised Philippine republic. There will be winners and losers much the same way as if you tip a dumptruck of twenty-year-old Filipinos into a 12-foot deep swimming pool. There will be some that will swim and some that will sink. Those that sink will simply have to learn how to breathe underwater if no one comes to save them. Those that swim will be in the perfect position to save those who sink if they fancy the prospect.

The nature of the outcome of giving autonomy to Philippine states will be no different in principle to the outcome of the various former colonies of the world gaining independence from their imperial masters over the last 100 or so years. Some went on to become First World wonders like Singapore. Others remained stunted in the Third World up to the present. Freedom and autonomy are twin bitches — because people’s true inherent capabilities get found out when set free and given autonomy.

So Filipinos shouldn’t be afraid of federalism. They will find out the truth about their inherent abilities to prosper given freedom and autonomy. They will learn the truth about themselves.

25 Replies to “Under federalism, EVERY Filipino tribe will find out what they are REALLY made of”

  1. “So Filipinos shouldn’t be afraid of federalism. They will find out the truth about their inherent abilities to prosper given freedom and autonomy. They will learn the truth about themselves.”

    I do hope you are right. I do hope most of the new federalised regions will not become like ARMM.

    1. The federal form of government have more check & balances in their system than in the unitary type. As what benign0 said, it’ll reflect on how our country would run by the Filipino people & our government, especially the local governments in each provinces since the federal system in every provinces/states have its own “self-rule or control” that could easily manage by its local government that couldn’t handle or control by either the President and/or Prime Minister on the far flung provinces/states unlike in the unitary form of government. Its like a country within a country. And also, the federal form of government could easily identify on which provinces or states or regions that have more or less economic development, identify the number of ethnics, races & cultures of a demographic in nature and how those people on a provinces or states or regions are that are culturally diversified, tolerance on different races, gender & religion, and areas that have an existence of a direct democracy rather than an indirect one, etc., etc.

      So I support the federal system in our country and I think it’ll bring more beneficiary than the current unitary one but it’ll depend on how the Filipino people & our government WILL handle it. And the REAL question now is in an post-Duterte/Federal type of Philippines, what will it be looks like? ????

      1. That is true. But that problem is on us transitioning to Federal form. All nations with federal form of government is a result of several independent states banding together to form the one federal state.

        Philippines will be the 1st state to attempt to “split” and form the “states” that will the create the new federal state.

  2. A quick look at the Top Economies of S/E/SE Asia, with countries being bigger than the Philippines like China and India, then there’s Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, all reveal a unitary form of sovereign states, with the exception of Malaysia, being a federal constitutional monarchy. What it shows us is that going Federal is not a key nor guarantee to economic success.

    Ours is only an experiment whose prospects to success (or failure), like, as you say, still remains to be seen.

    Anyway, by your consenting or tuning in to the merits of a federal system for the Philippines, is that indicative of a personal abandonment to an earlier claim which in effect invalidates your idea of our confession of character that “we are capable only of the small”?

    1. My views on federalism don’t have much to do with its benefits or detriment to Filionos. My point is more around how the nature of the concept which is to set free and grant autonomy such that the true character and capabilities of each unit given such will be revealed more clearly. In short, I highlighted it for its merits as a system where out of which the truth about Filipinos will come out.

  3. Just wondering when all that is established and achieved if there will be a PH ‘state’ wanting to go solo and out. Like Catalonia (Spain). Catalonia wants to be ‘seperated’ from Spain. Unfortunetely for them, a referendum was held but was – at the same time – unconstitutional. And maybe California (USA) wants to do the same (solo & out).

    1. I don’t know if that’ll apply for a federal system like a state/province wants to split the federation & become an independent states like one of these 2 examples:

      1) Quebec wants to split up with Canada but it brought with many failures: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_sovereignty_movement

      2) Singapore was once part of the Malaysian state in 1963 but two years later, it was kicked out from the federation: https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2015/03/22/how-singapore-gained-its-independence

      1. Oh by the way, there’s one strange or an ironic thing that could happen in a federal form of government. There’s a possibility that a former state/province that split up with a federal country, declared an independent state but later on it rejoined to the federation that had once been split up from her former federal country. And that former country is now part of a Mexican federation, the state of Yucatan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Yucat%C3%A1n

    2. Why not? Once federalism is in place then secession becomes a debatable prospect amongst people within each of the autonomous states. That’s where things become even more interesting — and exciting. Minds should be open to the possibility that, perhaps, the Philippines may eventually dissolve over the next 10 to 20 years.

  4. Healthy competition brings out the best in us. Lower prices and improved products/services are natural outcomes of an economy open to free market competition. The same goes for political entities/states: regions competing to provide the best quality of life/services will attract the best leaders/citizens.

    Let’s move to the next level and graduate from childish competitions of scrambling for the lion’s share of the pie. Time to grow up.

    What we need is a meritocracy-based competitive system/environment. The easier it is to install good leaders and boot out the corrupt / incompetent, the better.

    “It is better to build a system where good men cannot do evil and evil men can only do good.” -Deng Xiaopeng

  5. This “transformation” is going to be unique since it is not several independent states forming a union. It is just a “restructuring”. An actual plan to decentralize the government.

    Hence why secession is prohibited by the drafted constitution.

    Think of ARMM multiplied by 18.

    The draft still has its flaws, like Article XII – Distribution of Powers of the Government. There is still too much power on the proposed Federal Government. This is the justification for the 50% share of the Federal Government of the tax revenue.

    1. You need to look further back in history though. The “Philippines” is a recent creation of Spanish colonialism. But before that, kingdoms and principalities in what was to become a “country” named after that Spanish king already existed prior to the arrival of the conquistadors.

      1. If the Philippines were to be split into separate countries and principalities, it would simply end up back in the dark ages of feudalism. You’d need enlightened rulers and an enlightened citizenry to produce enlightened countries, and such people just don’t exist – or if they do, they’d be quickly slaughtered by those with smaller brains and bigger bolos.

        1. I’m sure it will 🙂

          Sadly, this will merely propel them to ever-greater heights of self-delusion to ensure that they remain the bestest people in the world in the bestest country on the planet.

        2. @benign0 then we will FINALLY know the problems of the Filipinos on what REALLY are if our country will become a federal state & without a safety net on its federal system. We could see some of the states/regions that wants to be split up or kicked out on the federation just like what it did to Singapore more than 50 years ago when they’d kicked out from Malaysia due to a racial tensions between the Chinese & Malays on that city after the British handed over to Malaysia.

          I don’t know if we could prevent that especially if we could get Sabah in which Malaysia had “illegally” annexed it in 1962 & the Malaysian government will handed over to us on a peaceful way if the Philippines is now a federal state just like Malaysia. And speaking of Sabah, here’s a youtube video that I’d watched it yesterday when former Senador Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel mentioned on the Sabah issue on his speech about the Federal System in our country that was held in Legaspi City last week, and if ever we’ve finally have that State/Province & apply it under the Philippines’ federal system, will the Sabah people accept it or will they demand a secession & split up with the Philippine federation: https://youtu.be/yQHt5Pe4UpM

      2. The tribal system before, like many others, do not have a “one form of united governance” or central government. So prior to the Spanish Colonization, there was really no united tribes of pre-colonial Philippines. No need to be looking further back to that time at all in this discussion.

        Federalism is a much much more recent creation of the founders of the United States of America. And it evolved even during their time as they discover the weaknesses and flaws of the form of republic that they created.

        The version of Europe is another example. A transition from confederation to actual federation.

        Ours is another one. But it will have similarities with the European federation when it comes to the power of the federal(central) government.

    2. @Tobias: I agree, it simply doesn’t go far enough. If tax policy, for example, is still controlled by the Federal government, it’ll remain the largest biggest disincentive to growth and investment. Everyone knows that tax revenue is, and always has been, just a large slush fund for the oligarchy.

      On the other hand, local governments are likely to be even WORSE at managing taxation. The small slice of taxes that they are allowed to (mis)manage at present are collected and disbursed in a manner that doesn’t even pretend to be useful. It’s likely that Federalism, in the absence of a massive cultural shift, will not have the desired effect.

      1. Marius,

        My take on this is different. Yes, the federal government should have a share in the tax revenue. But to lessen its share means it powers and responsibilities should be reduced to what I consider the main roles of a federal government: national military, implementation of elections, national border security, releasing of emergency funds, federal judiciary and federal congress.

        The regions (states) should have more roles when it comes to governing their own. State and social policies for the region must be predominantly(if not all of it) be the responsibility of the regional government. Police, regional elections, regional education system, regional healthcare system, regional emergency funds, regional judiciary and regional legislative body.

        This will put the share to 80:20. 80% of the tax of revenues of the region is for the regional government, 20% goes to the federal government. You can even make it 70:20:10, where 10 % MUST be allocated as emergency fund during calamities.

        Another good thing about the regional government having more hold of the tax revenues is that transparency checking is now regional. It is much easier to check where the taxes go in a region than the whole country. Then the citizens of the region can set their own method of punishing corrupt regional officials.

        Still, it does not solve the “padrino system” (but it could eventually). It just makes the auditing easier since it is now focused on the regional level.

        1. I wasn’t thinking so much of the revenue split (which as you say would depend on who needs to spend on what) but on the actual system of administration.

          The tax reporting, collection and disbursement system is designed specifically to encourage corruption, place large administrative burdens on businessmen, and discourage enterprise. To start a business is to invite depredations from crooked agents of the State, and the law is 100% on their side (the BIR runs their own court system completely independent of the judiciary). I’m including SSS, PhilHealth, local Barangay taxes under the general heading of “tax” here; different names, same crap.

          That single factor, if eliminated, would open up the floodgates of investment and social progress. Why has it not been eliminated? Easy: the present administration is as corrupt, wasteful and ignorant of modern business practice as any of the preceding ones. Would individual states be allowed to fix this problem? Doubtful. Would they even want to? Hell no, not if it removes the possibility of skimming cream from the top.

  6. Federalism may or may not work. The United States had a civil war in the 1860’s on the question of State’s rights and negro slavery. It lasted for almost five years, with hundreds of thousands of American lives lost on both sides.

    In the U.S., the state’s governor is the head of the state. There are also two houses of legislatures, the State Senate and the State Congress. There is also a state’s Supreme Court, with Justices.

    If the state’s governor is good and competent. The state will prosper. If corrupt and incompetent, then, the State will suffer. The Federal government is the supreme government of the federal state. The are many versions of federal government. We can also do a different version of our own, if necessary.

  7. Sharia law could be implemented under federalism. Federalism might sound good on paper but may not yield the perfect expectation. Who cares since it doesn’t affect Christian/non Muslim states? IDK man, there’s the domino effect.

    1. We don’t want any Sharia Law, or any religious laws. Sharia law is derived from the Islamic Koran and Muhammad’s Hadith. The Law of the Islamic Koran is the country’s law. The life of Muhammad is the life to be followed.

      In sharia Law, the woman is a second class citizen. The wife is the property of the husband. Non Muslims can be oppressed, and treated as a sub humans.

  8. No man ought certainly to be a judge in his own cause, or in any cause in respect to which he has the least interest or bias.

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