MY NEW BLOG: The Ciudadista: Life in the City

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Federal Republic of the Philippines

De Venecia: Arroyo can be both PM, President

It seems that the shift to a federal and parliamentary system of government is the current political talk of the town.

I am not a lawyer, politician or academic but I am looking forward to this system change. I understand that the current system is the cause of our long electoral process.

The new system will attempt to decentralise the government of the Philippines. Decentralisation is important because the Philippines is a nation of 82 million people spread all over the 7,100 islands. In today's system all decisions are made in Manila, the capital and centre of government. Often, political commentators dub the capital as Imperial Manila because of its centralised powers that has been unfavourable to far flung provinces.

The concern in changing into a federal republic is that it may encourage feudalism. Certain powerful, rich and influential families may dominate local government and thus encourage corruption.

As for dual posts that Mr. De Venecia is speaking of in the linked article above, I am not in favour of people having two powerful positions. The powers of the future federal president and federal prime minister must be lesser than the current system. My friends from the Philippine government confirm that the president of the Philippines has so much money under his or her disposal and vast appointment powers. The powers of the president is a temptation for corruption and evil.

There are also proposals to remove the upper chamber of congress, the Philippine Senate. According to proponents of this move this will remove dead locks and make legislation faster or efficient. I do not believe that an efficient legislature does not automatically mean an effective law making. Bills can be passed without much scrutiny that can be provided by the senate. On the other hand, if the senate will be retained I wish that senators must be doubled and be elected by state much like the United States. Electing senators equally by state (eg. two senators per state) will ensure that states with few members of parliament (MP) get equal representation.

Let us wait and see...