Federalism in the Philippines?

On his third year in office, Duterte plans to shift the government administration to one of federalism. This would be presented to the congress next week. The House of Representatives has called for a constituent assembly that would amend the 1987 Constitution.

Currently, the Philippines is  under a unitary form of government. This simply means that the central government is the highest form of power in the country. The resources needed for each region in the archipelago is administered and regulated by the central government. The smaller forms of government in each region, province, city and barangays only have the power to enact policies given by this central government. It basically means that the barangay officials, province mayors, and many more are under the central form of power which consists of the legislative, executive, judiciary branches of government. Federalism is a form of government wherein sovereignty is constitutionally divided between the national government and the sub-divisional governments. Federalism divides the country into several autonomous states with a national government.

The autonomous states are further divided into local government units or LGUs. These LGUs will have more power to control their own resources as well as develop plans for the improvement of their local public health safety, education, transportation and culture.

There are several advantages to this proposed form of government, as well as several disadvantages. One of the prime advantages is that the different autonomous regions will have the power and empowerment to make decisions of their own. A central government would not know how to handle the different problems and concerns in each region, as there are several. It would be harder to monitor what each region needs. However, with their own form of government, the leaders would be able to easily monitor what is happening in their own province and know how to handle it accordingly. When it comes to decision-making, it will also be easier for the government to ensure that plans push through as they will not need the permission of a higher authority. It won’t take longer and there is more freedom.

With this form of government, the regions would be abe to keep most of their income to themselves, rather than giving most of it to the central government. This means that the people in a specific region work for themselves. Our government will not have an opportunity to exploit the hard work of these provincial men. 20% of the income of these states will return to the national government while 80% will be kept in that state. 30% of what they get to keep will be funneled to the LGUs while the remaining 70% will be allocated to the different cities, municipalities and barangays.

On the other hand, a Federal form of government may also be harmful since there might occur some overlaps in jurisdiction which would arise to conflict and confusion, especially if the constitution does not state clearly the role of the state government. Furthermore, it might bring more division than unity. Friendly competition may arise due to the autonomy of each state. However, too much of a competition is also a bad thing. Lastly, some regions in the country might not even be prepared to stand on its own.

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