Analyst: Duterte should push federalism
For Ateneo de Manila University political science instructor Carmel Abao, federalism must also be among President Rodrigo Duterte’s priorities.
“Federalism should be pushed because it presents a number of opportunities and possibilities,” said Abao, who was among political analysts asked by the Inquirer about the President’s priorities in the next 100 days.
Among the opportunities presented by federalism, according to Abao, are the following:
– Having a government at a “state” level will address the question of “economy of scale” when it comes to public service delivery (i.e. smaller than the national but bigger than the provincial);
– Could solve the problem of overcrowding of agenda and personnel of the national government;
– Theoretically, more space for citizen participation.
However, Abao also said there are threats, such as:
– Social justice provisions of the Constitution could be removed in some states;
– Political dynasties could be reinforced (this can be prevented by passing an antidynasty law).
“Changing the Charter should not be done through a constituent assembly because the legislative branch is composed of President Duterte’s “supermajority” and any Charter change should represent a compromise of various forces in society, not just the dominant ones,” Abao said.
President Duterte and his party PDP-Laban have been at the forefront of pushing for a shift to a federal form of government. In a press briefing last month, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, said the party was leaning toward a presidential form of federal government, said on Thursday.
“Behind the scenes, we are already firming up the particular model and constitution that we will propose,” Pimentel said. “If we choose to remain unitary, we will have to shift to parliamentary. If we go to federal, then most likely we’ll have presidential. Those are the guiding principles the party is working on.”