It will be recalled that meaningful devolution process was started in 1991, and after 28 years it could be said that the country has not yet attained full devolution. And at University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance, we have been debating the merits of federalism in late seventies with Gabriel Iglesias, former Dean of the College, leading the discussions. All documents related to the completion of the final draft were sent to the Presidential Management Staff for safekeeping. AboutCareersPrivacyTermsContact UsAdvertise With Us, Federalism, decentralization and devolution: A continuing debate in the Philippines. This is precisely what devolution and local autonomy is all about. Under federalism, sovereignty in the Philippines will be constitutionally shared between a central governing authority and constituent political units called states or regions. “Our history chronicles the fact that no less than our national hero, Jose P. Rizal, who first floated the federalist idea as best suited for the Philippines as a polycultural country.”, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd (5th from right) receives a draft of the proposed Federal Constitution from former Supreme Court Chief Justice and Consultative Committee (ConCom) Chairman Reynato Puno (6th from right) on July 12. “Let’s see how Congress finally acts on the proposal. “As I said earlier, the first resolution that I filed in the 1986 Constitutional Commission urged the commission to first decide on the issue of system, type and form of government,” Davide explained. You have successfully joined our subscriber list. App for photo essay. Is federalism in the Philippines a “new” idea? Federalism—the devolution of responsibilities and powers of the national government of the dictatorial presidential system : a strong president vested with enormous powers short of a dictator king. These ranged from the well thought out and serious proposals of the Consultative Committee led by Chief Justice Puno and the venerable Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel Jr, to the bald partisan proposals emanating from some members of Congress to the vulgar “pepe-dederalismo” messaging. “Our consultative journey has spanned centuries of time—from the colonization of Spain, the United States, and the Japanese,” Puno said. View full-text Article It will allow us to rise above our rabid partisanship and instead focus on our collective goal of nation building which is what the debate on federalism should be. Public sector reforms – which are among the imperatives in nation building – may address specific concerns confronted by a nation during a particular historical moment, or a particular historical period. 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He said the federal system “is definitely not suited for the country and our people of this generation and even of the succeeding generations.”, He also said the issue of federalism was a major prejudicial issue raised during the 1935 Constitutional Convention, the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and the 1986 Constitutional Commission. It is an instrument to recognize diversity and preserve the ethnic identities and culture of the indigenous peoples of the country. 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Stressing the Philippines’ unitary government has failed to solve the country’s primary problems, Puno said, “The most serious of these problems is the threat of secession of some of our brothers in Mindanao because the government cannot grant their valid identity-based demands.”, Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, a member of ConCom and an advocate for federalism since 2001, said that since the Spanish colonial era (1521 – 1898) up to the American occupation of the country (1898 – 1946) “and all the way to the years of our independence as a republic (1946 – 1990), our system of governance had always been highly centralized.”. “I am confident that the Filipino people will stand behind us as we introduce this new fundamental law that will not only strengthen our democratic institutions, but will also create an environment where every Filipino—regardless of social status, religion, or ideology—will have an equal opportunity to grow and create a future that he or she can proudly bequeath to the succeeding generations.”. By continuing to use this website without disabling cookies in your web browser, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. All Rights Reserved. It is realistic because the process is built upon existing policies that have been tried and tested already such as in the case of Galing Pook awardees. It will be recalled that in 1991, a Local Government Code principally authored by Senator Nene Pimentel was enacted to transfer functions, powers and authorities to the sub-national local governments in order to enable them to address local needs. Federalism should not be seen as a Duterte agenda. Galing pook – and many innovations (heralded and unheralded) at the local level provide evidence that the Local Government Code has shown evidence of relative success with the many good and best practices in local government. “Unless we federalize the republic, Muslim secessionist tendencies will recur as they have been recurring for as long as I can remember. Then, as proposed by the consultative commission, representation in the Senate can be redesigned to allocate two senators per region to enable and assure equitable representation of all regions in the senate, something that has been sorely missing the past many decades. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO, In a speech at a formal opening of committee proceedings in March, Puno also said, “It appears that given his far-seeing foresight, Rizal stepped into the future much ahead of his time and clime. The United States, a highly diverse country of immigrants, has a motto: E Pluribus Unum (out of many – one). One thing is clear: considering the enormous problems and challenges we encounter as a nation – ranging from poverty and inequity to social injustice and corruption – we all agree that the status quo is not acceptable and that fundamental reforms are imperative. Among the reforms that generated much discussion is the proposal to amend the constitution and adopt a federal form of government as an alternative to the unitary system that we have today. What is wrong is blatant to our senses. Our government is Metro Manila-centric. If there were, the public’s knowledge about it has been limited to pushing for its establishment as a new system of government vis-à-vis constitutional change. Paano nito matutulungan ang ating bansa? “Why not just amend the local government code?” these sectors rightfully point out, considering that strengthening sub-national institutions and deepening people participation is at the core of the desired reforms. Will the Philippines make another attempt at federalism and move away from its unitary presidential government? It is within this context that popular public sector reform interventions – including the massive reorganization of government, the decentralization of powers to sub-national governments and the shift to a federal structure of government – may be appreciated and understood. On July 9, the President received the draft Federal Constitution in a report titled “Power to the People: Bayanihan Federalism, Power to the Regions.” The Senate received the same document on the same day. Federalism should be placed within a broader politico-administrative perspective with a keen appreciation of its historical context. 10. Finding Federalism in the Philippines Steven Rood Philippine Country Representative, The Asia Foundation Philippine Update Conference 2-3 September, 2016 Australian National University. GMA promotes healthy debate … No one size fits all. Our many local governments who have been recognized by the Galing Pook and other programs through the years are actual evidence of this: these include Upi in Maguindanao, Malaybalay in Bukidnon, Cebu City, Naga City, Mandaluyong City, Munoz in Nueva Ecija, La Trinidad in Benguet, and Aparri in Cagayan, among many, many others. One of the primary arguments for promoting a federal form of government in the country centers on the need to decentralize the power of the central government. The 22-member ConCom was headed by retired Justice Reynato Puno with the following as members: former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., retired Justices Antonio Eduardo Nachura and Bienvenido Reyes, Dean Julio Teehankee, Arthur Aguilar, Prof. Eddie Alih, Fr. It is also an instrument for development to address the inequities among the regions, and a way to address the conflicts in Mindanao. In between them are devolution (political decentralization as provided for in the 1991 local government code), regional autonomy (as provided for in the 1987 Constitution for the Cordilleras and “Muslim Mindanao” and now in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Mindanao (BARM) stemming from the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Federalism in PH But none of them was successfully done for one reason or another.”. Generoso said ConCom knew from the beginning that its mandate was just up to the crafting of a draft constitution. The best that can be done at this particular historical moment is to build upon the gains of devolution, laying the groundwork for federalism and adopting a slow, incremental, strategic, and well thought out phronetic process adopting realistic expectations. This paper discusses salient points which the Philippines must consider in reforming the health system, particularly in view of the Federalism debate. Some provinces have “Sur,” “Oriental,” “Occidental,” or “Norte” as a result of subdividing provinces, towns, and cities in the past 50 years. Consequently, Rizal’s federal dream went no further than a fetus even if it was endorsed by other visionary leaders like [Emilio] Aguinaldo.”, Puno told fellow committee members he would like to believe that “after more than a century of incubation, the time of the federal idea has now come to the Philippines. Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Also in photo is former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. (4th from right). We came up with an estimate on the number of cases that they will receive.”, He also said, “On that basis we imposed this: in deciding cases, in the high courts, 24 months. He earlier served as the Dean of the College of the National College of Public Administration and Governance; Executive Director of the Local Government Academy; and Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education. 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It is the over-concentration of power in the national government. Federalism would be the next step in the continuum, before separatism and independence. Since the discourse on federalism is not new when properly placed within the context of decentralization, we must build upon the accomplishments of decentralization over the years. Attempts at federalism in PH There was an attempt during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Within three years, Transition Commission will try to establish one by one the mechanisms for the federal system which, according to the initial timeline, is going to happen in 2022. Philippine politico-administrative history has shown that the decentralization of powers to sub-national governments has been a continuing demand of local governments as part of the clamor for autonomy. But is now divided into 18 federated regions development councils province during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo specialists... 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