When he ran for the highest post in the Philippines, former Davao City Mayor and now presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly declared he believes that the country needs a federal form of government for it to truly progress.
So what exactly is federalism? We turn to Congressman Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez (of Davao del Norte) and Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel for answers.
In an interview with DZMM, Cong. Alvarez clarified that the concept of federalism isn’t merely about autonomy. Under this type of government, the country will be divided into different states. He said:
“Talagang hindi lang autonomy kundi they manage their own economy, they manage their own natural resources, meron silang sariling mga batas, kaya lang kailangan ‘yung batas nila is kailangan sang-ayon din dun sa kanilang Constitution,” Alvarez explained.
(It’s not simply about autonomy but they manage their own economy, they manage their own natural resources, they have their own laws and it’s important that those laws are in agreement to the Constitution.)
Presently, the Philippine government requires all provinces in the country to remit their income to the National Treasury. The national government then decides how to allocate and distribute budget for every province.
This will change under the Duterte administration once federalism is put in place. Instead, a state will only give a small percentage of their income to the national government and will retain most of its income.
“Yung income ng mga probinsya, ay maiiwan sa probinsya at saka magbibigay na lang ‘yan ng contribution sa national government. Let’s say 20%, 25%, 15%. Depende po ‘yon sa magiging words nung constitution natin na babaguhin,” Alvarez pointed ou.
(Provinces will be able to retain their own income and will only contribute a percentage to the national government. Let’s say 20%, 25%, 15%. It all depends on what the Constitution will say.)
Meanwhile, in a report published by the Inquirer, Sen. Pimentel declared that he believes federalism will strengthen local government units.
“Kung mamarapatin pupunta na tayo sa federalismo na ating naiisip, mas makadagdag yun sa kapangyarihan ng ating gobyernong lokal,” Pimentel said.
(If we shift to federalism, it will empower local governments.)
Through this shift, local government units will be able to respond to their people faster based on their needs, without having to consult with the national government.
Pimentel likewise explained that provinces will not be abolished under federalism.
“Ilalagay lang sila sa isang federal government para mas madali ang pagbigay ng solusyon sa kanilang pangangailangan imbes na pupunta pa sila sa Metro Manila,” he clarified.
(They will just be under one federal government to make it easier to solve their needs instead of requiring them to go to Metro Manila.)
watch the video courtesy of youtube and abs-cbn