Mindanao Times » Adrian M. Tamayo http://mindanaotimes.net Wed, 19 Sep 2018 01:50:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Egalitarian: The economic model in Philippine Federalism http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-the-economic-model-in-philippine-federalism/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-the-economic-model-in-philippine-federalism/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2018 01:20:14 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61986 ]]> There is the need to propose a market design that fits in the proposed federal model for the Philippines. Under the unitary setup, the Philippine economy is known to be booty capitalism with chronic regulatory capture where control of market and politics rests in the hands of the oligarch.

Booty capitalism is a country’s situation where the government is weak and fragile while the private sector (oligarch) is strong, and advances their private interests using the instruments of the government. For example, it is easy to control the prices in the market by sending a bizarre signal that there is a shortage of supply by fluctuating the retailers’ price or by reducing the volume through increased inventory. In effect, prices will shoot up although there is an apparent volume of products from end-to-end of the market system.
Federalizing the country means shifting away from the booty capitalism model, disband monopoly and oligopoly in the markets, and establish a free market with a better purchasing power of the buyers and effective, productive capacities of the suppliers.
The country has to move away from the current economic design to fully ensure that federalism in the country will work. On this, it is espoused that the Philippine federalism must also bring to the people economic opportunities and benefits denied to them in a unitary setup.
There are three basic economic models: free market, planned economy, and the social market economy. The free market dictates that the volume of goods and the prices in the market are results of the agreement between the buyers and sellers. This is good if both, the sellers and buyers are equally informed and are provided with similar information for which strength of the other is just canceled out by the ability of the other. However, in this country, information rests in the hands of the few thereby creating sizable market power, with just a single tweak of information; profit becomes a windfall at the expense of the people queuing for a limited kilo of NFA rice. The free market economy employs the capitalist intention. Capitalism in not wrong, it becomes wrong if the institutions of the country are weak to lose ability in enforcing the laws and policies. I could remember a merchant’s proverb of “chaos is an opportunity for profit”.
On the other hand, a planned may not include all work altogether. The government has no business of an enterprise. It will eat the whole of the enterprises; it will devour the market. The planned economy dictates the market and plans out how to produce and even who consumes the goods. Although, pretty surely everyone will be employed in this market design, yet people might lose their creativity if forced to do the job forced upon them.
But there is an economic system which allows for “equality of access to opportunities and equity of outcomes.” This is the principle enshroud in the social market economy. This market system strongly protects the welfare of its people to the degree that each will exercise their autonomy and creativity while encouraging market competition through enterprise development, property rights, and business incentives. The government strongly intervenes in favor of the weak and the poor to make them effective market participants. Come to think, if the 25 million people in Mindanao, the whole of it will buy and exercise power in the market. Buy goods according to the ability of their improved pockets, and sell according to the productive capacities of their land, within income exhibiting stronger purchasing power, then we can just say, mao na jud ni!

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Egalitarian: Digital economy and Federalism http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-digital-economy-and-federalism/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-digital-economy-and-federalism/#comments Sat, 01 Sep 2018 06:53:21 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61591 Read more ›]]> I want to share the imperative of making the country a federal country in the lens of information and communication technology. The internet speed of the country improved from 5.5 Mbps to 17.62 Mbps.

Mbps is the industry-standard is measuring internet speed which stands for megabytes per second which is a measurement of the data transfer speed. With a 5.5 Mbps in 2017, the internet speed of the country falls short of the global average of 7.2 Mbps, luckily, the country’s internet speed improved to 17.62 this year which is better than Indonesia (15.31Mbps), Brunei (15.31Mbps), Cambodia (13.23), Laos (11.71Mbps) and Myanmar (8.35 Mbps). However, our internet speed is minuscule compared to Singapore (174.94 Mbps), Taiwan (54.06 Mbps), Thailand (44.0 Mbps). Well, we fall a little short compared to that of Malaysia (26.9 Mbps) and Vietnam (24.8Mbps) per speed test report of Global Index.

Hence, Philippine internet speed is one of the slowest in Asia and the most expensive for that matter. If it is very slow in Manila, then it is slowest in all other places. Internet speed in NCR range from 3.5 to 3.6 Mbps, the further you go south the slower is the speed. Cebu has 2.6 Mbps, CDO with 2.4, Davao at 2.2, Iligan with 2.1 and Zamboanga at 1.6 Mbps as the World Bank Study 2017 reports.

The poor speed is a result of latency problems due to the traffic which is routed to Manila, and then back to other areas such as Mindanao. The jitter also contributes to slowing the speed. Accordingly, the jitters are the fluctuations of end-to-end delays from one packet to the next. The jitter is a normal occurrence in low connection speeds, and for that will be costly regarding economic value to those who are into e-commerce. In addition, those in the e-business are faced with the problem of packet loss where data packets are not received by their expected destination.

Why is this? The Philippine internet is a duopoly, which means two oligopolists. An oligopoly is a market setup where there are many buyers, but there are only two suppliers for the whole market. One supplier player maintains 70% control and the other with 28% control and 2% to all others. The two big market players maintain effective vertical control.

According to the study of World Bank, the duopolists control the international gateway facility (landing station), the backhaul (domestic cable), the middle (wholesale line) and the last mile (retail end). The digital economy’s future will remain bleak unless a fully-open access on the mentioned segments is facilitated. The best way to make internet access, making the digital economy vibrant, is to remove barriers to entry into the telecommunication business.

To do this, the 1987 Constitution’s limitation of telecommunication’s ownership need be visited; the rationalization of Congress as a franchiser of telcos and the license to operate to be obtained from government-regulating body need to be visited.

The most effective way to improve internet speed, the very foundation of a digital economy, is to make investments decentralized, encourage e-commerce to flourish in many different places away from the central. The distribution of powers need be structurally introduced to make it systematic where a general overhaul of the system need be introduced. Decisions must be made in places where these are implemented. Federalism is the key to this.

The systemic shift to federalism will truly bring the potentials of Mindanao. After all, the future of the Philippines is the growth of Mindanao. Even with half of the 25 million inhabitants of Mindanao turning to the internet to sell their goods, buy and supply services through the digital world, it will mean reaching the Arabic-speaking market, the Spanish market through the Chavacanos, on top of the current English-speaking markets.

This is again proof that federalism will catapult the country to better heights unimaginable in unitary setup. The global comparison of internet speed reveals that countries in unitary setup have slow internet speed like in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the Philippines. Making internet faster and wider in access is already a form of equalization of opportunity, and for those who want to use their talents using the internet will benefit more making way for equity of outcomes, basic in federalism. The maximum economic opportunity of digital world principally rests in federalizing the country.

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Egalitarian: Federalism and the threat of a credit rating downgrade http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-federalism-and-the-threat-of-a-credit-rating-downgrade/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-federalism-and-the-threat-of-a-credit-rating-downgrade/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:00:33 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61228 Read more ›]]> Last month, Moody’s, one of the biggest credit rating agencies, warned that the possible shift to federalism could drag the country down. This is sending fears to economic managers.

Where are these fears coming from? Our dependence on global factors shows the nation’s susceptibility to global factors. Second, a credit rating downgrade will mean more expensive loans for the country.
A sovereign rating is given by credit rating agencies like S&P, Moody’s and Fitch. These credit agencies provide services of providing information on issuer’s ability (government) to meet debt obligations, and these agencies monitor the policies of the issuer (government) according to their expectations of political and regulatory risks which will affect the country’s loan default, and they will set the alarm to the international bond market by issuing a threat of downgrade.

Very recently, Moody’s issued threat of downgrade as it looks at federalism disrupting the fiscal stability and requirement of larger public expenditure. However, economists reveal that the ratings given by credit rating agencies aren’t the one-way lens, downgrades are not due to domestic politics alone.

Economists Rozada and Yeyati studied in 2006 the global factors that affect the emerging markets, which included the Philippines. Contrary to usual claim, even with improving macro fundamentals such as the prudent monetary response of Bangko Sentral amidst inflation and the improving debt-payments standing, the country needs “to account the exposure to global factors and devise mechanisms to reduce that exposure.”

To my mind, the unitary setup is an open claim that the country is wholly exposed to global factors which endanger our credit ratings all year round. Federalizing the country is a mechanism that reduces exposures to global factors. The rule of law and corruption are also used as barometers of a country’s credit worthiness. Look, the rule of law is never premium in unitary government, and corruption is widespread in this setup. So federalism, which is the exact opposite of unitary government addresses the rule of law and corruption.

In another 2014 study by Ruud Meeuwissen of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, he showed the impact of the sovereign credit rating on domestic loan supply in emerging markets like the Philippines.

The study found that banks generally won’t cut loans after a country receives a downgrade, although all of the banks will receive a credit downgrade after the sovereign rating downgrade. The banks usually won’t share the opinion of the credit rating agencies; banks keep on supplying loans though at a reduced amount. The banks know better the country than the credit raters.

A downgrade affects all banks rating but not the banks’ financial health. During these times also, banks will receive more money due to increasing demand for time deposits due to increasing interest rates.

With a lot of money available for loans, banks will be forced to be more prudent by improving their non-performing bank loans. Eventually, banks will shift supplying loans to consumers to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to reduce if not avoid loan defaults. The former is the common source of bad loans in developing countries. So, don’t worry much of the credit rating downgrade, there is always a better story of it, and those stories are dispassionate and also empirical.

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Egalitarian: Theory and practice in public safety and that Mindanao development http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-theory-and-practice-in-public-safety-and-that-mindanao-development/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-theory-and-practice-in-public-safety-and-that-mindanao-development/#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2018 16:00:55 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61188 Read more ›]]> It was a Sunday, and they were not in their uniform. The 48 junior officers, mostly Senior Inspectors, and very few Chief Inspectors going back to school to learn and re-learn managerial skills and leadership qualities as they are set to be promoted for the next rank.

By time and grade, these are those men and women in uniform who will be holding city or advanced municipality’s director portfolio or equivalent unit. The group is hardly symmetric in age and gender. There are still fewer females in the force though the PNP encourages women with skills and dedication to join the PNP. There are also officers as young as 26 to as old as 44.

My lecture was on project management. I brought them back to the old terrain of conceptual and theoretical definitions of project management. If we are to translate the project management context in the PNP, it is on the Oplans that they craft. More often we hear about Oplan which is short for “Operational Plan.”

One thing we agreed is the challenge of crafting a project in two and distinct features. One is the personality-based, usually the program of a Chief PNP, while the other is the systems-based which is anchored on the nature of public safety requirements. Besides, operational plans can also be short-lived such as good for a celebration or an urgent event, while the other type takes longer time given that it is usually anchored on the term of the President of the Republic.

The value of the project management on the operational plan also bids some degree of mending the two. The operational plan is generally activity-oriented while the project management ensures that the activities are consistent and relevant to the whole organization. Albeit many activities initiated, some police stations and police districts do not win the hearts of the stakeholders because of the disarray of the police operations which flushes out trust; the activities devoid of community relations.

The very foundation of a mature society is sustained peace and order, a relevant fortification of the public safety engagements where the public puts a stake on the police force’s resources, competence and discipline because they address their concerns. Simply, the people’s demands are met by the public safety personnel. And it is not just ordinary law enforcement for that matter; it is meeting the expectation of gentlemanliness, courtesy, discipline, leadership, kindness, integrity and competence.
Again, where are the project management skills and theories set in? Project management is a science of initiating, planning, executing, measurement and evaluation, and closing. The vector of project management is towards the achievement of the desired outcome putting in full consideration the unintended outcomes. The added value is measurement and evaluation.

This old wisdom of Peter Drucker remains to be true when he quipped “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.” This, however, should not be the dreaded fault-finding and issue-mongering review process. It is defining first the meaning of success and then tracks the achievement levels of indicators. Now, what is the success measure of public safety?

If the public trusts and engages their police, and the police expand their competence and blends in with the community as role models, both as professionals and individuals in their private affairs, then public safety metrics are achieved.

And to be honest, all development starts with peace and order, and this is what we all need. In Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), another government agency task to provide strategic leadership for Mindanao, seeks actively the peace towards understanding of historical injustices and restoration of rights and respect for culture. This way, Mindanao can maximize its full potentials to accelerate its growth and catch up with development.

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Egalitarian | We will win http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-we-will-win/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-we-will-win/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:00:23 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60297 ]]> With the question of how we change the constitution, the public is saddled with the option of having no election to give way for the charter change to implement federalism, or to delay the implementation of federalism by facilitating first the midterm elections this 2019, then comes the discussion on federalism of the new set of Congress after.

Again, the people are made to think that options are very limited. The 1987 Constitution provides the mode to change the constitution: Constitutional Assembly, Constitutional Convention, and the People’s Initiative.

In the Constitutional Assembly or fondly referred to as the ConAss, the members of the Congress upon a three-fourths vote of all its members can change the constitution. There are two basic stumbling stones here.

First, midterm elections will undoubtedly hamper the accelerated pace of federalism. Second, the three-fourths vote requirement will likely mean requirement of three-fourths in the House of Representatives and three-fourths in the Senate. We can rest our hopes at the current landscape of the House of Representatives, but not with the Senate.

This will mean a gridlock, and anything of this sort is a sure party that the opposition wants to maximize. Chaos would mean opportunities for them, federalism cannot be delayed. Economically speaking, speculators will benefit from the earnings in the exchange rate, the stock market. Chaos favors the rich at the expense of the poor.

The second mode is the Constitutional Convention. Some pundits ascribe the ConCon as expensive and tedious for its disadvantage, but mostly effective when talking about its advantage. The basis of the forewarnings of being costly and tedious is on the impression that selecting experts and constitutionalists who are all patriots and look beyond their active years are few and hardly found. However, to my surprise during the July 14 National Dialogue on Federalism here in Davao City, Visayas and Mindanao are very much ready for federalism. There are already proposals, counting to 10 already produced by various groups of lawyers, technocrats, academicians, politicians who all envisioned decentralization of development from the NCR, and diffusion of wealth away from the hands of the one percent who controls the 90% wealth of the country.

The People’s Initiative may also come as a window of opportunity. Direct engagement of the public through their barangay officials may come as the participation of the people. And honestly, this is what is called the revolutionary government movement. The revgov is nothing but a direct participation of the public.

If the whole 42,000 barangay councils in the Philippines will issue a resolution calling for the shift to the federal republic by giving the President the power to call for the Constitutional Convention and appoint delegates to the convention, then this comes as the most democratic way. This is the formula proposed by Chito Gavino III and Atty. Aris Albay to make sure that federalism is implemented within the term of the President.

It is also not coming as a cause for concern over the size and representation of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. The President may appoint 30 to 50 women within 30 days but no more than 60 days, as the pundits on law and constitution led by Atty. Michael Mastura define.

To be consistent with the proposal of the Consultative Committee and other federalist groups, the President may appoint three delegates from the pre-identified 18 regions, plus delegates from Palawan. Since there is the need to respect the cultural structure within the Bangsamoro, it may have nine delegates representing Maranao, Maguindanao, and Sulu. Then the Indigenous People three delegates need be included also.

Therefore, we are looking at 73 to 76 delegates composing the brightest minds and experienced foresight and unwavering commitment to federalizing the country as PRRD wants it to be. This number is manageable; these people are readily available.

One can just imagine the size of the membership of the Kilos sa Pederal sa Pagbabago, the 2005 ConCom members, the Consultative Committee themselves, Centrist Democrats, PDP, the All Moro Convention, Citizen’s Movement of Federal Philippines, the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Lihuk Pideral Dabaw, and other groups, the People’s Agenda which crafted the People’s Draft, and the list continues.

The scenario of no-election due to federal is nothing but just smokescreen to create confusion, but no, the people are certain of what we want as a country. A better country governed effectively within the federal framework. We can win this, the way Senator Pacquiao brought his opponent to his knees. We can win! We will win!

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Egalitarian | Public goods and federalism http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-public-goods-and-federalism/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-public-goods-and-federalism/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2018 09:51:14 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60210 ]]> There is a growing concern on how public goods are provided in a federal framework given that the country is used to a unitary setup. Also, it was a source of hot discussions on how the public goods are provided.

Publicly produced goods are those that are provided by the government such as roads, hospitals, welfare services, public protection. To those with some advanced training in economics, they will readily think of the roads, trains, bridges, clean air, peace and order, and good health. These are characterized by a “constant returns” to scale.

When we say constant returns to scale, we refer to the mix of inputs and corresponding impact on output. Such that any increase in input will mean an equivalent increase in the volume of outputs. A public good is non-rival and non-excludable.

Non-rivalry means that one person who enjoys the benefit of using a road or a health care service cannot prevent others enjoying similar advantage simultaneously. On the other hand, non-excludability means that the enjoyment of a person in accessing the services of the government will not prevent others of access to it. When relating to technology requirement, any technology use will not hamper the production of the mentioned goods and their similar types. Hence, technology is of minimal requirement in public goods.

Compare this to a condition when the public good, say transportation, is viewed as a private good whereby, an ordinary citizen needs to pay for the services. Then a service may become rival but non-excludable.
The effectiveness of providing rival yet non-excludable goods rests on the assumption that all individuals need to consume the same level of goods. On this, the individual citizen needs to compromise. Note however that compromise needs to be effective else it will be costly. The government will be providing public services at a greater bundle to fit the heterogeneous characteristics of the large population.

Accordingly, compromise is usually initiated. Imagine the process of making compromise in a very large population. It will be very chaotic, but it is efficiently achieved in a smaller population. In addition, the partition of the people into smaller groups tend to facilitate less compromise because the division is a result of some defined characteristics such as culture and ethnicity, preferences and tastes.

Given this, the public goods are efficiently provided by a government that understands the people that demands it. The government that can do this is the State government and not the Federal government. The citizens obtain benefits from the goods, pay for these goods, and eventually, the general welfare of the individuals improves. The case at point is simple; a publicly produced goods need to be closer to whom it serves so that optimum benefits are enjoyed.

On the other hand, if the public goods are consumed collectively, a possible social loss is incurred. The social loss of the collective consumption is minimized when each is encouraged to consume the average of all citizens’ private demand for collective goods. The loss can be minimized if the publicly produced goods are provided by the State government for the consumption of its citizens who are similarly characterized given their geographic incidence, cultural beliefs, resource endowments, and general preference. Simply saying, it is what they want and what they want is what they consume. Since they consume it to their benefits, they pay for it; no other groups will be required to pay the benefit of the services other than those who enjoy it. This is the nature of public goods in federal setup; unlike in unitary where a subsidy to the MRT will be paid by all Filipinos whether they have used it in their lifetime or not.

How about a public good like a High Speed Train in Mindanao? The benefit of a high speed train in benefit cuts across economic and social benefits. It is a symbol of massive growth happening to Mindanao. And when MinDA takes a bigger and significant role in the implementation of the TransMindanao High-Speed railway, surely it is to the benefit of the huge majority. It is to the benefit of connectivity of the people in Mindanao, it is to the benefit of productivity, it is to the benefit of true development.

Federal Philippines and massive development of Mindanao are legacies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte; these also are the sources of passion and energy of the MinDA Chairman Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto.

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Egalitarian | Theory and practice in public safety and Mindanao development http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-theory-and-practice-in-public-safety-and-mindanao-development/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-theory-and-practice-in-public-safety-and-mindanao-development/#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2018 07:49:17 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60082 ]]> It was Sunday, and they were not in their uniform. The 48 junior officers, mostly Senior Inspectors, and very few Chief Inspectors going back to school to learn and re-learn managerial skills and leadership qualities as they are set to be promoted for the next rank.

By time and grade, these are those men and women in uniform who will be holding city or advanced municipality’s director portfolio or equivalent unit. The group is hardly symmetric in age and gender. There are still fewer females in the force through the PNP encourages women with skills and dedication to join the PNP. There are also officers as young as 26 to as old as 44.

My lecture was on project management. I brought them back to the old terrain of conceptual and theoretical definitions of project management. If we are to translate the project management context in the PNP, it is on the Oplans that they craft. More often we hear about Oplan which is short for “Operational Plan.”

One thing we agreed is the challenge of crafting a project in two and distinct features. Or personality-based, usually program of a Chief PNP, while the other is systems-based which is anchored on the nature of public safety requirements. Besides, operational plans can also be short-lived such as good for a celebration or an urgent event, while the other type takes longer time given that it is usually anchored on the term of the President of the Republic.

The value of the project management on the operational plan also bids some degree of mending the two. The operational plan is generally activity-oriented while the project management ensures that the activities are consistent and relevant to the whole organization. Albeit many activities are initiated, some police stations and police districts do not win the hearts of the stakeholders because of the disarray of the police operations which flushes out trust; the activities devoid of community relations.

The very foundation of a mature society is sustained peace and order, a relevant fortification of the public safety engagements where the public puts a stake on the police force’s resources, competence and discipline because they address their concerns. Simply, the people’s demands are met by the public safety personnel. And it is not just ordinary law enforcement for the matter; it is meeting the expectation of gentlemanliness, courtesy, discipline, leadership, kindness, integrity and competence.

Again, where are the project management skills and theories set in? Project management is a science of initiating, planning, executing, measurement and evaluation, and closing. The vector of project management is towards the achievement of the desired outcome putting in full consideration the unintended outcomes. The added value is measurement and evaluation.

This old wisdom of Peter Drucker remains to be true when he quipped “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.” This, however, should not to be dreaded fault-finding and issue-mongering review process. It is defining first the meaning of success and then tracks the achievement levels of indicators.
Now, what is the success measure of public safety?

If the public trusts and engages their police, and the police expands their competence and blends in with the community as role models, both as professionals and individuals in their private affairs, then public safety metrics are achieved.

And to be honest, all development starts with peace and order, and this is what we all need. In Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), another government agency tasked to provide strategic leadership for Mindanao, seeks actively the peace towards understanding of historical injustices and restoration of rights and respect for culture. This way, Mindanao can maximize its full potentials to accelerate its growth and catch up with development.

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Egalitarian | Federal constitution and strong regional governments http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-federal-constitution-and-strong-regional-governments/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-federal-constitution-and-strong-regional-governments/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2018 16:13:19 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59948 Read more ›]]> The Constitutional Commission proposed 18 regional governments or others call as States in the federated Republic of the Philippines.

This is too many but at least, we already have the model, to begin with. Previous studies reveal that for a State to operate in a year, an estimated total of P200 billion is needed, but this estimate was done in 2009 by former DILG Usec Sosmeña, eight years forward, the current estimate is pegged at 400 billion pesos.

On this, the government can start by using an incremental strategy in order to start with a good traction in the federalization process. On this account, former CJ Reynato Puno prescribed the formula for the federal republic to be successful; it is making the regional government strong.

So, at the onset we have 18 regional governments which will delivery public services to the constituents within its defined State territories.

It is important to realize that the State governments need to earn revenues on the one hand, and spend for its citizens on the other.

The economics of federalism points out at the good logic of the marginal social benefit against the marginal social cost. The benefit refers to the spending of the regional governments for the welfare of the constituents. The cost refers to the taxes and levies the people have to pay so that their government will work.

When States are contagious in terms of resources and people, then the burden of the tax will become difficult due to the principles of “voting by vote” and the “intertemporal nexus of production”. These two principles provides venues for taxpayers both people and establishments to avoid tax burden. The normal course to address this is to allow the federal government to intervene which will make the federalism format a kind of permissive federalism. Note that a permissive federalism is nothing but an expanded Local Government Code of 1990 put in place. So to address this, there should be parallel initiatives to craft State Constitutions to further articulate and at the same time limit the interpretation of the Federal powers in the State territories. This can be done by crafting State Constitutions in the identified 18 regional governments of the ConCom.

The State Constitutions will interpret the taxing powers, the revenue sharing, the determination of rights on extracted minerals, the exercise of customary laws and the protection of the Indigenous Peoples Rights. Thus, State Constitutions fortify the Federal Constitution as proposed by the ConCom and this will accelerate the federalization process of the country. MinDA is taking bolder steps in bring aboard the public in the discourse and even the crafting of foundations of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

Sooner, there will be public consultations for the Constitutions, both Federal and State Constitutions, across Mindanao.

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EGALITARIAN | At the end of the Indigenous Peoples Summit http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-at-the-end-of-the-indigenous-peoples-summit/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-at-the-end-of-the-indigenous-peoples-summit/#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2018 02:15:48 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59743 ]]> THE IP SUMMIT which was initiated by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary ended with a very beautiful spectacle. MinDA Chairman, Sec. Datu Abul Khayr Alonto expressed deep joy for seeing the Lumads converging together to discuss concerns that affect them as a community.

At the latter part of the program, the Cabinet Secretary himself, Sec. Leoncio Evasco evoked a deep-searing emotion on the plight of the Lumads and their natural humble and somber manner which was mistaken as cowardice by the colonizers.

So the story goes like this.

The Lumads, for all that they want, is to live a peaceful life with all other groups and all other religions. When the Muslims came through Abubakar, who founded the first Sultanate of Sulu, there were already inhabitants of the land. Some of them were converted to Islam faith; some continued their beliefs. But none that wars and divisions occurred between and among them.

The Lumads continue to toil their lands, receive the bounty of the land, and praise their god. The god, or bathala, from whom they always take the inspiration to be kind because it is the will of their god. So they protect their land, they take from nature what they can consume. They won’t do more than what they can consume. The forest was their home; the lakes were their source of food, the sky abounds them with serenity, the ocean made them healthy out from the fish they can take.

This only until the Spanish colonizers, along with the cross on the one hand and the sword on the other that the Lumads need to move to the mountains. Not that they love the mountains more than any places, but they love peace more than ever. The Spaniards conquered them by making them converts, people of the pueblos who have to drop everything whenever the bell rings. And those who won’t give up their faith, a sword is ready to wound them.

So the Lumads need to move further to the mountains, separated from their brother moros.  Some tribal groups have to cut their ties with the centers so that they can live peacefully within their secured territory. It was a secured territory not by weapons or defense systems, but because of distance and the natural encasement brought by nature.

Secretary Evasco’s story is similar to the aspirations of the Moros for their land. In the course of time, their lands and territories were undermined by the colonizers, and their successors converted these lands for their commercial values.

Even now, their struggle continues because of the lack of recognition of their right to self-determination. Here, Secretary Alonto sounded in a very clear voice the need for all the Lumads to be united for development. The strategic development framework of MinDA bears special weight for the welfare of the Lumads.

Fast forward today. The mainstream society believes that the Lumads choose to live at the hinterlands, far from the modernities that this generation can offer. But no. They have their lands, their ancestral land, and their ancestral domains. The modern society even failed to understand their sensitivities, their customs, and their physique. I was saddened by one speaker who was trying to win the attention of the more than a thousand crowd.

The guest from Luzon was saying that she is almost like an IP because although she does not speak the language, she can speak Portuguese and Bahasa. She is also small and dark-skinned, so is almost like an IP.

My inner self-was rumbling. People do not need to eat the food of the Lumads to understand them; there is no need for anyone to be dark in complexion to feel their needs and aspirations.

There is only the need to understand them, plain and simple. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the Lumads need efficient services of the government. There is no need to develop a stochastic model to prove the need for caring  individuals, the need for a tolerant society.

In all of the climate change debates that the world talks about, the IPs are already in the middle of it. They are the first to suffer when there is a typhoon; their houses are made of light materials. Their domiciles are usually located at the mountainsides, places vulnerable to disasters. They suffer the most when there is heavy rain or very hot days; they depend on farming and fishing for their everyday living.

On the last day, I was teary-eyed to see the Lumads went to stage to get their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles. Now they are a community legally recognized and protected. It was a wonderful sight for me. A thought crosses my mind; they can now, and their future generations truly exercise ownership, rights to develop and use their lands and resources and deny anyone to gain entry to their places.

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Egalitarian | When at the Indigenous Peoples Summit http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-when-at-the-indigenous-peoples-summit/ http://mindanaotimes.net/egalitarian-when-at-the-indigenous-peoples-summit/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2018 16:08:06 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59508 Read more ›]]> The venue is full of colorful dresses with designs I have quite seen for a long time. The event is a convergence of Indigenous Peoples from the island of Mindanao. For all its worth, it is priming up and making a convergent call of the welfare, concerns, and expressions of the various Indigenous cultural communities and peoples. The gym is packed with estimated thousands of participants coming from the different regions. Here I see a familiar face, my good friend Datu Amarillo Marcelo, Alejo Jr. of the United Lumads of Mindanao for Peace and Development.

From June 25 to 27, the Lumads will discuss issues that affect their culture, their lives, their tradition, their very safety in their villages, the response, and treatment of the various agencies of their leaders and elders. This first Indigenous Peoples Mindanao Cluster Convergence hosted in Cagayan de Oro is a component activity to bring together the Indigenous Peoples through the initiative of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco. Other partner agencies include National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Economic Development Authority, the local governments, and the Mindanao Development Authority.

The Summit aims to address the persistent concerns on the formal recognition of the ancestral domains, the control of their ancestral domains, and in cases of overlapping claims, how must the claims be handled. Given these, the Lumads turn to National Commission of the Indigenous People (NCIP) albeit their sentiments of this office. For one, they observe that the NCIP need to upscale in the delivery of its mandate.

It is sad to note that although there are agencies created and mandated to take care of the concerns and needs of the Lumads, they still cry out that the services of the government are not felt. In fact, they face the threat of displacement from their ancestral domains. They also express that their rights are violated because of the non-compliance and even disregard of Free and Informed Prior Consent (FPIC). The FPIC is a standard protected by international human rights law where it clearly describes people as having the right to self-determination and as such the right of free pursuit of economic, social, and cultural development over their lands, resources, and participation.

Though with laws supporting them, the IP governance remains to be weak due to the elusiveness of peace and order in their places, this is brought by the formation of the “bagani’s” as paramilitary groups which weakens the authority of the tribal leaders and the cohesiveness of the IP governance system.

Given this complex reality and articulated sensitivity, MinDA by virtue of RA 9996 can provide strategic directions for Mindanao within a clear framework of peace and development as the agency goes functions beyond regional concerns thus can work for harmonization of regional efforts for a much bigger Mindanao-wide programmatic approach. These programs are expressed in more responsive and timely infrastructure development, financing, conducive and culture-sensitive policies and studies.

The best proof of that all these are done is the recently presented proposed Bangsamoro State Constitution (BSC) of the All Moro Convention (AMC) to President Rodrigo Duterte. The proposal articulates provisions that can be taken in part or whole in the crafting of the Federal Constitution of the Philippines. The said proposed State Constitution included the protection of the Indigenous Peoples within the Bangsamoro.

Therefore, in the development framework of MinDA under the tutelage of Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, the Lumads will have a special place. This is consistent with the expression of the President that the manner to resolve conflicts in Mindanao is through federalism. In the next months, MinDA will conduct consultations that will make the concerns of the Lumads and altogether concern of the country towards the efforts of creating the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

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