Mindanao Times » Chito Gavino http://mindanaotimes.net Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Random Thoughts: Needed: Prudence in going Federal http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-needed-prudence-in-going-federal/ http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-needed-prudence-in-going-federal/#comments Thu, 20 Sep 2018 01:46:44 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62325 ]]> “I’m not against federalism per se. But as British philosopher statesman Edmund Burke once memorably warned, “Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident a security.” (Richard Heydarian, “Why Federalism”, HORIZONS, Philippine Daily INQUIRER July 17, 2018).


I’ve read several columns of Richard Heydarian and heard him being interviewed in TV Talk Shows. No doubt, he is a very knowledgeable and analytical commentator. I’ve learned a lot from his critical opinions especially on foreign affairs.
He rightly explained: “The crafting of a new constitution isn’t only a legal matter (too many lawyer members in our Consultative Committee or Con-Com). Instead, it is primarily a leap of faith into a new realm of political economy, namely the interface of power and finite resources.”
Heydarian admitted to be skeptical on the going push for federalism as I am also very doubtful of the Con-Com’s federalism proposals. Thus, we say: Be very prudent particularly on the issues of determining the number of Federal Regions to be created in our country and in the delineation of governmental powers between the National Federal Government and Regional Federal Governments. These questions are very crucial that could spell the success or failure in shifting to a Federal System.
One Editorial recently pointed out: “There is indeed a great deal that must be cleared up in the move to revise the constitution and set up a federal form of government. It appears that the Consultative Committee focused on legal, political, social, cultural and other aspects of its proposed new Constitution, and only belatedly considered the economic impact of its proposals. Its estimate of the costs is way below that of NEDA which is the national government agency concerned and familiar with funding matters.”
Our Davao-based Kilos Pederal Pagbabago (KPP) and People’s RevGov for Real Democracy Alliance (PRRDA) view the Con-Com’s federalism proposal as a Recipe for Disaster! Malacanang and Congress better watch out of this that could ruin our democratic government.
The KPP is prudently proposing the adoption of “Incremented Strategy” on the creation of Federal Regions. It is suggesting that we initially create five big and rich Federal Regions. KPP’s proposed delineation of governmental powers are: 27 Powers to National Federal Government, 35 Powers to Regional Federal Governments and 23 Powers to be shared by both Governments (see KPP’s 2017 Manual titled: “How to Federalize the Philippines”).

On the other hand, PRRDA is adopting the KPP’s federal proposals above. However, if the five federal Regions being proposed by KPP will not be acceptable to President Duterte, PRRDA is recommending a compromised version of initial eight Federal Regions.
KPP’s initial five federal Regions are: 1) North Luzon Federal Region; 2) National Capital Federal Region; 3) South Luzon Federal Region; 4) Visayas Federal Region; and 5) MINSUPALA (Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan) Federal Region. Its modified version of six Federal Regions will include Bangsamoro. While PRRDA is endorsing KPP’s six Federal Regions, it also has an amended compromised initial eight Federal Regions which are: 1) North Luzon Federal Region; 2) Central Luzon Federal Region; 3) Palawan-Negros Federal Region; 6) Cebu-Leyte Federal Region; 7) Bangsamoro Federal Region; and 8) Mindanao Federal Region.
Cordillera will be an autonomous region within the North Luzon Federal Region per PRRD proposal. Per KPP, Bangsamoro will be an autonomous region of M1NSUPALA Federal Region as well as Cordillera in North Luzon Federal Region.
Since PRRDA’s amended compromises initial eight Federal Regions which is three Federal Regions more than KPP, initial five federal Regions. It is advisable that we follow the Rule of the Thumb of less number of Federal Regions will get more exclusive governmental powers while more number of Federal Regions will get less exclusive governmental powers. The delineation of government powers approximately are: 30 Powers of National Federal Government, 30 Powers of Regional Federal Governments, and 25 Powers to be shared by both governments. Take note that 15 governmental powers are still under study.
Con-Com’s proposal of 18 weak Federal Regions with less governmental powers falls under the category to Permissive Federalism (of the worse kind) was the product of Con-Com members narrow imagination. KPP’s and PRRDA’s proposals of five to eight strong Federal Regions fall under the category of Competitive Federalism were products of pro-Federal Filipino aspirations.
The war between maintaining the present Unitary System versus shifting to a Federal System starts boiling. At this stage, the former which is supported by Filipino Imperialists are winning the battles due to their effective execution of their plan headed by the Yellow Army. The latter which is supported by the present administration are losing the battles because it has no veteran federalist Commanding General and no clear and effective battle plan to follow, thus confusion reigns in their camp.
We still have more or less, four years of the Duterte administration. As to who will win the war in the end is the big Question? This is a wake-up call to the Duterte administration.

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Random Thoughts: The big picture of change http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-the-big-picture-of-change/ http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-the-big-picture-of-change/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2018 16:00:11 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61846 Read more ›]]> Attention, my fellow Filipinos

“It is high time to take a no-nonsense look at how our unitary government has inefficiently addressed our recurring problems of improper allocation of powers between the national government and the local government units; the capture of government power by the political dynasties and the economic elite; the corruption that it breeds; the impoverishment of the masses it has caused; the breakdown of the rule of law; the threat of narco-politics; and the rebellion it has fomented from our Muslim brothers in the south and the NPA’s in our countryside” (Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno (ret.), “Is the Philippine a failing DEMOCRACY?”, THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION, February 8, 2017).


Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, in one of his columns in the Manila Bulletin recently wrote that “TANDEM”, a part of civil society organized by concerned citizens to promote inclusive growth through political reforms, has proposed to amend the Philippine Constitution of 1987 by removing the restrictions, limitations, and prohibitions against foreign direct investments.” He further stated that “the Philippine has embraced massive poverty since the birth of the republic until today.”
Clearly, our Philippine society is not doing well and badly needs reforming. It is safe to say that our society is “sick” where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. Our “tatsulok society ay talamak sa kahirapan at patuloy ang kaguluhan.”
We cannot and should not go on like this. We must change for the better. We cannot and should not allow status quo to continue and witness great majority of our people living in misery brought about by massive dehumanizing poverty and breakdown of law and order.
Hence, the call of the times is for Real Social Transformation in the Philippines. Only fools will say that this is not so. Only those who are benefiting much in the existing unresponsive, oppressive and extractive economic and political systems we now have will say NO to Real Social Transformation in our country. Our number one enemy in this regard is the Filipino Imperialists (oligarchs, elites, extravagant big business people, traditional politicians of the worst kind and their cohorts like the Yellow Army).
Real Social Transformation requires two major reforms namely: 1) System or Structural Reform, and 2) People Reform. These two major reforms must go hand-in-hand because system affects people’s behavior and people’s behavior affects system.
As Wayne Gruden and Barry Asmus rightly pointed out in their book “THE POVERTY OF NATION”, to overcome poverty we must address four factors. These are: 1) The Nation’s Economic System, 2) The Nation’s Government, 3) The Nation’s Freedoms, and 4) The Nation’s Values. Only in an honest-to-goodness Social Transformation can we effectively address those four factors.
It is for this very reason why the Duterte Administration is so passionate in pursuing Constitutional Reform commonly known as Charter Change or Cha-Cha so that our country can adopt an inclusive economic system and an inclusive political system that will result to sustainable inclusive growth in the Philippines. An inclusive economic system is a modified Social Market Economy which is a combination of Free Market and social concerns. An inclusive political system is the more democratic Federal System.
Regarding People Reform which is a more challenging and continuing reform, our group in Davao City is finalizing a draft of a “New Filipino” People Reform Program to be submitted to Malacanang for consideration and possibly official adoption.
The contents of our draft Pamphlet on this Program are: 1) Prayer for Renewal, 2) Foreword, 3) Introduction, 4) The Foundation, 5) The Formula of Success, 6) Representation of the New Filipino, 7) The Seven Pillars of a New Filipino, 8) The New Filipino, 9) Significance of the New Filipino People Reform Agenda, and 10) Postscript
The Seven Pillars of a New Filipino are divided into four Bottom Pillars and three Upper Pillars. The four Bottom Pillars are: 1) Moral Recovery and Spiritual Renewal, 2) Patriotism Revival, 3) Entrepreneurship Mindset and Behavior, and 4) Physical and Mental Health. The three Upper Pillars are: 1) Love of God, 2) Love of Country, and 3) Love of God.
These Pillars are designed to: 1) Revitalize our moral values and spirituality, 2) Cure our over-family centeredness, 3) Moderate our over-employment orientation and develop an entrepreneurial mindset and behavior, 4)Appreciate that our body and mind as a whole is the “Temple of the Holy Spirit” and that “Health is Wealth”, and 5) Fully understand the right hierarchy of love. All of these are the embodiment of a New Filipino.
This big picture we have presented here hopefully will give our people better understanding of how to effectively respond to the current raging issues of Charter Change, Federalism, unabated corruption, massive poverty, continuing criminalities and disorder, unbalanced development, political immaturity, environmental crisis, moral and spiritual degradation, etc.
With clearer perspective of the whole gamut of reformation and transformation of our “sick” society, Filipinos can now make their informed decision of whether to maintain the status quo or support the honest-to-goodness “pagbabago” which the Duterte Administration’s promised to our people thru Real Social Transformation.
Life is about choices. Hopefully, with deeper understanding of the issues at hand, our people are more equipped now to make better choices. As our Good Lord tells us, “we have the ability to choose what we believe or want to do and that our choices affect our future.” Just remember our suffering fellow Filipinos and what we can do to help them.
May God guide our people in this regard.

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Random Thoughts: Some financial aspects of going federal http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-some-financial-aspects-of-going-federal/ http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-some-financial-aspects-of-going-federal/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2018 16:00:22 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61725 Read more ›]]> “We, too, believe in and adhere to the public finance principle ‘funds follow function’, the groups (influential business) said in their statement. Accordingly, we echo the concerns of fiscal and economic experts about ambiguous provisions on the division of revenue and expenditure responsibilities between the proposed federal government and its federated regions” (Othel V. Caez, “Careful with Federalism”, Manila Standard, August 13, 2018).


Recently, Secretary Ramon M. Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry said “that federalism is good in the devolution and operation of the trade and industry function, promotes ease of doing business, and competitiveness among local governments in attracting investors.” He, however, likewise “agree with the other macro-economic managers of the government of the need to establish first the financial feasibility — costs and risks (please include also the benefits) — of the proposed shift (to a federal system)”.

From the very beginning, immediately after Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte was elected President of the Philippine Republic, we in the Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) warned: “We must be very prudent in our shift to a Federal System because if we do not do it right, we might create more problems in our country than what we intend to solve.”

Hence, No. 2 of the KPP’s 2016 Proposed Road Map to Federalism in the Philippines submitted to Malacanang stated “For President Duterte to organize a Study Group composed of experts from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Dept. of Finance (DOF), Dept. of Budget and Management (DBM), and Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to study the financial aspect of going Federal for submission to the Consultative Commission (CC) for consideration (and guidance).”

Even in the Public Hearing undertaken by the House of Representative’s Committee on Constitutional Amendment in Davao City way back in 2017, yours truly advised the Committee to also tap financial experts to assist them especially in the determination of the number of Federal Regions to be created in the country and in the distribution of governmental powers between the Federal National Government and Federal Regional Governments.

That’s how cautious the KPP members vis-a-vis our challenging shift to a Federal System. Very unfortunately, no such studies were made by Malacanang economic team. Now if Malacanang is really still serious in pushing federalism during the term of Pres. Duterte, then such financial studies must be made soonest by these two (Malacariang and Congress) branches of government for obvious reason.

In KPP’s manual titled: “HOW TO FEDERALIZE THE PHILIPPINES,” it is written: “Step 6. Decide on the number of (Federal) Regions to be established in the Philippines.

“We must be extra prudent in our decision on this very crucial issue. We must have some degree of workable understanding of the intricacies of Federalism to arrive at the appropriate number of Federal Regions in the country.

“The comment of a Filipino expert on Federalism below can help.

“Former DILG Director Dr. Gaudioso Sosmena, Jr.: “”Determining the number States (Regions) in the country is dependent on financial capacities and revenue base of each of the proposed state (region)… A study on Federalism supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Philippines shows that it will cost approximately Php202,973,184,000.00 (more or less Two Hundred Billion Pesos) to organize and manage a state (regional) government for a period of one year…. Realities, therefore, do not allow eleven viable states (regions) “as some quarters are proposing (imagine Con-Com proposing the creation of 18 weak Federal Regions in the country!)

“Aware of the merits of ‘Incremental Strategy’ in the creation of Federal Regions as suggested by Dr. Sosmelia, Jr., logic dictates that we must limit the number of Federal Regions we create in the country to economically viable ones. Let’s avoid the establishment of poor Federal Regions. Let not allow the continuation of the fragmentation of our country into ‘political fiefdoms’, neither shall we allow all types of mendicancy! Hence, the proposal of the KPP is to INITIALLY establish five (5) Federal Regions in the Philippines.” (Now we are considering six including the Bangsamoro).”

We go now to the Local Government Units’ (LGUS’) concern especially on their Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA). The present sharing of the IRA is 60% for the National Government and 40% for the LGUs’. Per Con-Corn spokesperson Ding Generoso, “the sharing of tax collection under the draft constitution would be 50% for the federal governments and 50% for the regional governments.” If 40% of the IRA now go to the LGUs, then only to 10% percent will remain for the 18 Federated Regional Governments. We don’t think this will suffice for the 18 Federated Regions.

Here is another problem of the LGUs in going Federal. Generoso also said “that internal revenue allotment for local governments under federalism would no longer be a concern of the federal government. The power to distribute the shares of the local governments will belong to the regional governments.” Most probably this is one of the reasons why LGU officials are deafeningly silent on the issue of federalism. “Baka bawasan ng Regional Governments ang kanilang IRA.” The Regional Governments may also abolish their provinces due to financial reason. If Federalism is really still “a priority for President Duterte” as stressed by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, then all cabinet members who are in the position to help our President achieve this election promise to our people should better triple their efforts to this effect. “Kung talagang gusto, may paraan. Kung talagang ayaw naman, puro katwiran!”

Let’s see which is which.

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Random Thoughts : The key is effective info drive http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-the-key-is-effective-info-drive/ http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-the-key-is-effective-info-drive/#comments Tue, 28 Aug 2018 16:00:43 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61448 Read more ›]]> “Senators remain lukewarm to Charter Change… In the next 10 months, as the Constituent Assembly deliberates on the proposed constitution, an information campaign may be able to overcome the present public opposition which in turn, could also convince the senators to review their own opposition and see the benefits of a new federal system of government” (EDITORIAL, Manila Bulletin, August 7, 2018).

To improve the administration’s information campaign on federalism, an inter-agency, task force has been organized to handle this matter. As to who is the top man or “conductor” of the task force has not been announced to the general public. Is it Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea or DILG Secretary Eduardo Año? Whoever he is, the very important thing is that this top man or “conductor” or better yet “ground commander” must be full time on this very crucial job for the coming say ten months. If he will not be able to focus on the challenging task to win the hearts and minds of our people for charter change (Cha-Cha) and federalism, we doubt very much if the administration will succeed in this difficult undertaking.

There are also the issues of the kind of materials to be used and the style of delivery especially in their barangay sorties. The goal is for the participants to be converted to federalists who know the needed details on a federal system for better appreciation. In this regards, they better use tested and proven materials and style of delivery of veteran Davao federalists. Their materials must consist of two modules and the method of delivery must be participative. In the first module the objective is to convert immediately the participants to federalism. In the second module, the objective is for the participants to know the basic details of a federal system and its benefits to them. This means convert first then educate later rather than the academician style of educate first and hopefully convert them later.

Hence, this newly created task force should not try to “reinvert the wheel” in their information campaign. Just go to Davao City and look for the “Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago” or KPP group and ask their help in this regard. Simple. “Bakit po kayo magpapakahirap sa bagay na ito?” Accept that you are only new in this game and need veteran federalists’ help.

The decision of the newly elected Speaker GMA to go straight convening a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) should be given a chance to revise our 1987 unresponsive Constitution. We do hope and pray that indeed Con-Ass will work in passing a draft federal constitution for approval of our people in a plebiscite in due time.

Unfortunately, we in People’s RevGov for Real Democracy Alliance (PRRDA) see this as already an exercise in futility. Why? Because the anti-Chacha and anti-federalism Liberal Party and their allies in the Senate, consider this issue as a war for political survival, (whether they admit it or not), especially in the next 2022 presidential elections. To these status quo senators, if they successfully block Cha-cha and federalism now, this will not only embarrass the present administration but will also weaken PDP-Laban in the 2022 Presidential elections. Thus, NO three-fourth votes from the Senate nor even holding a constituent assembly (Con-Ass).

Well at least we can say we did try via Con-Ass and failed. Now is the time to shift to PLAN B as the most viable option for federalism. This is revolutionary government in a democratic way, meaning with people’s mandate, for honest-to-goodness constitutional reform and shift to a federal system. Whichever way it will go, an efficient and effective federalism information/education campaign is a must now! And the main battlefield here is Luzon.

When we first learned about ConCom’s federalism proposal of 18 weak federal regions to be created in the Philippines, we immediately expressed our dismay on this and call it a recipe for disaster. Recently, the economic team of President Duterte rightly opined that such proposal will “wreak havoc to our economy” confirming our previous observation. Economic potential and viability should be one of the criteria in this regard.

Now in their information campaign on federalism, the inter-agency task force should not use the federalism proposal of ConCom as the federalism model of the Duterte’s administration or else our people will outwardly reject it. Consider the ConCom’s federalism proposal only as one of the many federalism models being proposed which is strongly criticized by Malacañang economic team. The task force must be transparent on this matter, or else they may lose their credibility. Currently, there are several federalism proposals ranging from 2-18 federal regions to be created in the Philippines.
More pressure on the inter-agency task force from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Per recent report: “Federalism is generally `okey’ for the defense and military establishments, Lorenzana (however) noted that many Filipinos still appear to be lacking information on that type of government.
This writer also agrees with Mayor Sara that there is “no need for Mocha (Asec. Uson) to apologize nor take a leave of absence due to her controversial. `Pepedederalism’ jingle-video.” Let’s just brief Asec Uson on federalism and use her in our social media. We volunteer to do this job for Asec. Uson. Let’s not overreach on Uson’s slip. After we have briefed Asec. Uson, she can then design federalism videos appropriate particularly for the millennials and common Filipinos accompanied by teaching guides.
Latest news report was that “President Duterte himself would lead the start of the information drive on the proposed federal constitution.” Now, that will really be a good sign of the seriousness of the administration to push for charter change and federalism. This is the “energy drink” pro-Federal Filipinos thirsty for.

Lastly, DILG should undertake its own nationwide surveys quarterly to properly guide this administration’s push for federalism. Weak areas can then be identified and addressed appropriately.

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Random Thoughts | Is RevGov at the Doorstep? http://mindanaotimes.net/is-revgov-at-the-doorstep/ http://mindanaotimes.net/is-revgov-at-the-doorstep/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2018 07:23:12 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60747 ]]> “President Duterte wants lawmakers to expedite the amendment (revision) of the (1987) Constitution to allow a shift to federalism, but there is not enough support for it in the Senate, according to Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri. He says there can be no constituent assembly (Con-Ass) unless the voting on the proposed amendments will be separate. Only four senators favor federalism, he says.” (Cha-cha lacks Congress support, “Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 13, 2018).

Our People’s RevGov for Real Democracy Alliance (PRRDA’s) prediction that the Senate cannot get the three-fourth vote required by the 1987 Constitution to be able to amend or revise our flawed and unresponsive 1987 Constitution thru Constituent Assembly seems on the verge of reality. Based on some Senators current actuations on this nagging issue, our Senators are taking their time on the matter. Let’s hear what Senate Chair of the Constitutional Amendment Committee Senator Francis Pangilinan who recently opined: “I think we should discuss first whether or not we should change the Charter before we talk about what should be amended.” O come on Sir. We federalists see this as one of your group’s delaying tactics to paralyze thru long debates on Charter Change! “Ubusin ang termino ni PRRD para walang Federal, ang gusto ng yellow Army.”

Another sorrowful obstacle to Constitutional Reform (Con-Ref) that just arose are the highly questionable Federalism proposals of the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) headed by Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno. “Matatalino naman ang mga membro ng Con-Com pero bakit nagkaganito?”

We are referring to Con-Com’s disastrous proposals of creating 18 weak Federal Regions in the country and still maintaining a centralized Federal National Government inconsistent with the aspiration of pro-federal Filipinos. Surely, such worst type of Permissive Federalism will contribute further to the delay of our Con-Ref. This will trigger more debates and confrontations which could have been avoided if only Con-Com heeds the warnings of other long experienced federalists and constitutionalists.” Ang malaking problema sa Congress ay dinagdagan pa ng malaking problema sa Con-Com, ano kaya ang gagawin ni Presidente Duterte para maayos ito?”

Now enters the Dragon – the only viable option to resolve once and for all these tough-nut issue of going Federal. This is RevGov in a democratic way (with PEOPLE’S MANDATE) for honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform to establish a Federal System in the Philippines.

How could this be effectively done, is explained in detail in our 2018 Pamphlet titled: “liberate our people, save our nation, thru RevGov in a Democratic Way”. There are three articles in this Pamphlet that deal specifically on this matter, namely:

1. Do We Need Duterte’s Federalism and Revolutionary Government?

2. How to RevGov in a Democratic Way

3. When to RevGov.

Prof. Edilberto C. de Jesus last January 2018 wrote: “The shift in political structure is major surgery. What benefits will federalism bring and by what means will they materialize? Which limbs or organs will the surgeons amputate? What foreign elements will they implant? How much will the operation cost? How long is the expected period of recovery? The doctors prescribing the cure have not yet given a comprehensive explanation of the process to the patient.” Very good comparison, I would say.

Prof. De Jesus rightly advised: “Prudence dictates that anyone contemplating major surgery seeks a second and third opinion to review the soundness of the diagnosis; assess the aptness of the proposed cure: and evaluate the surgeon’s integrity and skill. This precaution comes especially with the possibility that the doctors MAY PROFIT beyond what they deserve from the surgery.”

Thus, who will then finally draft the honest-to-goodness Federal Constitution after President Duterte declared a RevGov with People’s Mandate, is the 24 dollar question that will confront PRRD.

Our humble unsolicited advice on this is: After President Duterte thru People’s Mandate declared a Revolutionary Government (RevGov), is for him to appoint Atty. Aristeo Vicente Albay, Chair of Davao-based Tagapagtanggol ng Mamamayan Development Centers, Inc. (TMDCI) and its movement group Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP), to head a 20-man veteran Federalist Constitutional Commission (Con-Com) which the President will immediately create to review and revise some parts of the draft.

Federal – Presidential Constitution formulated by the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) particularly its highly questionable Federalism and Transitory) proposals. The members of the new Con-Com are to be selected by Atty. Albay and appointed by the President.

This way the final draft of our new Federal – Presidential Constitution could be presented to the Filipino people for approval or rejection in a nationwide Plebiscite. Then President Duterte can create now the Transition Commission to do its job.

We got a very disturbing information that if the Senate will not participate in a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), the Lower House will do it alone to revise our 1987 Constitution and submit their output for Plebiscite and let those who oppose this move go to the Supreme Court to question the Lower House action in this regard. Boy o boy, this is highly unconstitutional and our people know this. We are sure that the people will get angry on such desecration of our Charter and reject in the Plebiscite such illegally drafted Constitution. Please abandon this ignoble idea and avoid the wrath of our people.

There is this famous saying that, “If there is a will, there is a way.” Some concerned federalists are asking if President Duterte has still the political will to go federal? Yes, we think that he still has the political will. The only viable way is RevGov in a Democratic Way meaning with People’s Mandate. But to get the People’s Mandate require effective massive information drive for Federalism. Thus, the President must immediately appoint a competent federalist retired general as his ground commander in going federal assisted with a small team of advisers composed of veteran federalists mostly Mindanaoans.

We must win the war for the hearts and minds of our people to support a RevGov with People’s Mandate for honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform and shift to a more democratic Federal System.

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Random Thoughts | Go for competitive federalism! http://mindanaotimes.net/go-for-competitive-federalism/ http://mindanaotimes.net/go-for-competitive-federalism/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2018 08:51:11 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59920 Read more ›]]> “Stimulates domestic competition and our global competitiveness” (Former President Fidel V. Ramos, “Empowering the Filipino People,” Manila Bulletin, June 17, 2018).


There are four types of Federalism in the world today. These are: 1) Cooperative Federalism such as in Germany and Venezuela. Its characteristics are more shared powers, intertwined policy-making and administrative functions, and consistent diminishing powers of the Federal States; 2) Competitive Federalism such as in Brazil and USA. Its characteristics are limited role of National Federal Government in regional affairs and many regulatory functions are nested in the Regional federal Governments; 3) Permissive Federalism such as in Malaysia and USSR. Its characteristics are Federal States or Regions are subordinated to the National Federal Governments and limited exclusive powers are given to Regional Federal Governments; and 4) Coercive Federalism such as in Nigeria which is a Federal Military Government. Its characteristics are National Federal Government promulgates Regional policies and National Federal Government can require Regional Federal Governments to perform functions without National Federal Government funding. “(Encyclopedia Britannica as quoted by Dr. Clarita Carlos, National Defense College)

Based on the many Federalism fora I’ve participated in since the nineties, great majority of the participants want strong regional Federal Governments with more exclusive powers and resources. No doubt this connotes Competitive Federalism that truly empowers our people. This is also what Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) and other Federal Advocates favor. Clearly, Competitive Federalism will “stimulate (constructive) domestic competition and global competitiveness” as former President Ramos wisely advised. Competitive Federalism will unleash Filipinos’ creative ability and move our people to exert more efforts to succeed in life. “Sa Competitive Federalism bawal ang tamad at mababang kalidad na trabaho!”

In a Competitive Federalism, extra prudent must be exercised in identifying the different governmental powers that will be under the jurisdiction of the National Federal Government, Regional Federal Governments and those that will be shared by both Governments; and in deciding on the number of Federal Regions (States) to be established in the Philippines. Economic potential and viability must be seriously considered.

In this connection, the Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) recommends the following:

On Powers Allocations

* 27 for National Federal Government.

* 35 for Regional Federal Governments.

* 23 shared powers of both Governments.

On Number of federal Regions

* Adopt 5 Criteria foremost of which is Economic potential and viability of the proposed Federal Regions (States).

* No to fragmentation of our country into “political fiefdoms” that breeds warlordism and all types of mendicancy that breeds political patronage.

* Adopt “incremental Strategy” by the creation INITIALLY of 5 big and rich Federal Regions (States) ensuring that these are financially viable to shoulder their responsibilities to their constituencies. (This author is now recommending INITIALLY 6 Federal Regions which includes the Bangsamoro Federal Region).

Unfortunately, the Consultative committee headed by former Supreme Court Justice Reynato S. Puno is proposing a Permissive Federalism of the worst kind. This is a very dangerous proposal of creating 18 Weak Federal regions most of which are small and poor. In addition, much more shared powers between the National Federal Governments are also being proposed. There are very problematic propositions. This is obviously a leap to disaster.

No harm to mention again some of the negative consequences of the Con Com’s recommendation below:

Fragmentation of our nation into “political fiefdoms” that promote warlordism and mendicancy.

Tremendously bloat our bureaucracy that calls for additional taxes and will result to lesser fund for development programs and projects.

More messy constitutional cases due to many shared powers between the National Federal Government and Regional federal Governments.

4. Weak foundation for building a strong Federal republic.

Will not empower Filipinos nor address our cry for self-determination.

The LEGACY OF PRRD should be of great things that will truly liberate and empower our people, not mediocre things that will continue to enslave us by Filipinos Imperialists. This should be the guiding star of all President’s men and women. But sad to say, most of the Con-Com members seem not to have this frame of mind based on their Federalism proposal. Political convenience and expediency seem to be the rules of their game.

Some pro-Duterte people are erroneously saying that “basta Pederal bahala na kung ilang Federal Regions ang itatag.” This exposes their lack of understanding of federalism. If this is their attitude, they might wake up one day with unpleasant surprises. We said this before and we are saying this again that if we err in our shift to a Federal System, we will create more problems in the country that what we intent to solve. May God enlighten them on this nagging issue.

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Random Thoughts | No to weak federal regions! http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-no-to-weak-federal-regions/ http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-no-to-weak-federal-regions/#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:58:15 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58962 Read more ›]]> Attention: Members of Congress and Consultative Committee

“We are living in the time of parenthesis, the time between eras… It is a time of change and questioning.” (John Naisbitt)


We are now undertaking Constitutional Reform mainly to shift from a Unitary System of government to a Federal System of government. We must be extra careful in this task because if we do not do it right, we might create more problems than what we intend to solve.

Based on the many fora on Federalism I’ve participated in since the late 90s, almost all the participants expressed their preference for strong Federal Regions (States). This means that more governmental powers and resources be totally allocated to the different Federal Regions that will be created. This means an honest-to-goodness self-rule short of independence. I see this as the aspirations of our people particularly Mindanaoans.

It is for this reason that the Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) proposed the adoption of the Incremented Strategy and the INITIAL creation of Five Big and Rich Federal Regions in the country. This will also assure the financial viability of the first five Federal Regions. And in this connection, Congress will be given the authority to create new Federal Regions in the future following established criteria.

Atty. Michael Henry L. Yusingco, LLM wrote: “The shift to a federal system will be a huge challenge for all Filipinos. It stands to reason therefore that the drawing of territorial boundaries must not result to drastic and immediate disruption to the public. The people’s deep familiarity to the current geographical organization of the Philippines must be seriously considered in naming the constituent units of the federal state “Ostensibly, the regional administrative infrastructure currently existing could be the basis for defining the territorial boundaries of the constituent states of the new federal republic.”

We fully agree with Atty. Yusingco on this. That why clusters of three to five existing administrative regions in the country should compose our different strong Federal Regions, Existing Administrative Regions within Federal Regions will still be maintained. But to convert each existing Administrative Region to Federal Regions is to gerrymander our country to weak Federal Regions.

Lately, we received information that the Consultative Commission that is now drafting the new Federal Constitution is more inclined of proposing 17 weak Federal Regions in the Philippines. This means less governmental powers and resources will be totally devolved to these 17 Federal Regions. That many of the governmental powers and resources will still be shared by the Federal National and Federal Regional governments.

Some of the negative consequences of this Con-Com’s proposal are 1) This will promote “political fiefdom,” warlordism and mendicancy; This will tremendously bloat our bureaucracy thus tremendously reduce government funds for development programs and projects; and this runs counter to the self-determination aspirations of our people.

Furthermore, with more shared powers between the Federal National Government and Federal Regional Governments, expect more messy constitutional cases in our Federal Republic.

What we heard is that the Con-Com as a whole is working on a “DOABILITY THEORY” which seems taking “relatively easier and perfunctory (done merely as a routine)” road to federalism at the expense of more substantial one. “Financial Viability and higher degree of self-determination theory” should have been the Con-Com’s “North Star.” Perhaps most members of Con-Com are being overly concerned of Congress approval of their draft Federal Constitution and/or in a hurry due to time constraint and for convenience.

But per info, House of Representative sub-committee on Constitutional Amendment’s report dated Jan. 16, 2018 states: “Federal Republic shall be composed of constituent units, namely the states (Regions) of: Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, the Bangsamoro and Metro Manila.” So what gives with the Con-Com?
Our group, the People’s RevGov for Real Democracy (PRRD) Alliance, strongly anticipates that Congress sitting as a Constituent Assembly cannot get the needed three-fourth votes in the Senate to pass a draft Federal Constitution. Thus, the next viable option for an honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform is thru a Revolutionary Government in a democratic way. Thus, we can afford to be more radical (from the root) in our proposal. Let’s then be more idealistic and go for stronger Federal Regions. As Senate President Tito Sotto rightly pointed out recently: “The Bangsamoro Basic Law will be a good template for our Federal Regions. “That is if sufficient governmental powers and resources will be totally given to the Bangsamoro entity that will make it a strong Federal Region. If Congress can do this to our Moro Region, why cannot we do the same to our other Federal Regions for the sake of fairness.

Let’s adopt a Competitive Federalism with strong Federal Regions for our nation to be globally competitive. Strong Federal Regions with their LGU’s will make a solid foundation for a strong Federal Republic. Weak Federal Regions will spell disaster to our new Federal Republic. We hope and pray that the Con-Com members will rethink their proposal on this challenging issue.

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Random thoughts | A political surgery http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-a-political-surgery/ http://mindanaotimes.net/random-thoughts-a-political-surgery/#comments Fri, 09 Feb 2018 02:32:33 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=54126 ]]> “THE shift in political structure is major surgery. What benefits will federalism bring, and by what means will they materialize? Which limbs or organs will the surgeons amputate? What foreign elements will they implant? How much will the operation cost? How long is the expected period of convalescence?  The doctors prescribing the cure have not yet given a comprehensive explanation of the process to the patient.” (Edilberto C. de Jesus, Con-ass for federalism?, BUSINESS MATTERS, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 13, 2018).


Professor de Jesus is professor emeritus at the Asia Institute of Management. I like the way Prof. de Jesus compared Constitutional reform to a medical surgery. First, you have the patient which is our present flawed, unresponsive and oppressive Cory’s Constitution. Second, you have the surgeons, which should be the 50 Wise Flipino members of the the Constitutional Commission (Con-Com) to be appointed by the President Duterte, NOT the Con-Ass people are talking about. This is possible thru RevGov in a democratic way.

Third, The Constitutional provisions that will be “operated on” are: 1) Political Structure plus Strengthening of the Political Parties provisions and 2) Socio-Economic System plus strengthening further of social security and social justice provisions. Fourth, the Con-Com operating cost would not be more than P500 Millions while the yearly operational cost of a Federal State/Region is about P3 Billion. A nationwide plebiscite will cost about P5 Billion. Of course these are only rough estimates.

Fifth, the benefits of federalism emmerated by the Citizens Movement for a Federal Philippine (CMFP) are:

  1. It is a just and enduring government system for peace and unity in diversity.
  2. It will empower the citizenry to fight criminalities, corruption and poverty.
  3. It will greatly improve governance and achieve more equitable representation.
  4. It will hasten and balance the development of our country.
  5. A Federal System with a Parliamentary Form of Government will promote development program-oriented political parties that are responsible and accountable to the people.
  6. It will broaden and deepen democracy and improve institutions.

In the Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) Pilipino Praymer listed down 16 benefits we can achieve thru a Federal System.

Sixth, The “convalescence” or transition period in our shift to a Federal System is about three years if no complication occurs.

Prof. de Jesus cautioned us: “Prudence dictates that anyone contemplating major surgery seek a second and third opinion: to review the soundness of the diagnosis; assess the aptness of the proposed cure; and EVALUATE THE SURGEOUS INTEGRITY AND SKILL (capitalization mine). This precaution comes especially with the possibility that the doctors may profit from the surgery.” Very well said Sir.

As to the soundness of the diagnosis and aptness of the proposed cure, these already have been studied and restudied over five decades now by Federalists from different disciplines. Anent the surgeons’ integrity and skill please see our article “Wanted: 50 Wise Filipinos” which explains your serious concern and ours on this matter.

In addition, the “Con-Ass hospital” is not properly manned to do an honest-to-goodness, political surgery on Cory’s Constitution. Hence, the “patient” is rightly transferred to the “Con-Com hospital” properly created by President Duterte thru RevGov in a democratic way.


We are recommending Prof. A. De Jesus to be a member of the 50-man/woman Constitution Commission (Con-Com) that Pres. Duterte may create to draft our new Federal-Parliamentary Constitution for approval of  our people. Prof. De Jesus expertise will be very useful especially in the area of organization and management we think.

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