Random Thoughts | Go for competitive federalism!

“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.

Posted in Opinion