February 24, 2017
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said on Wednesday that shifting to a federal system, as proposed by President Duterte, might be more dangerous for municipalities and provinces with poor leadership and not doing economically well.
Speaking at the Foundation for Economic Freedom Monthly Fellows Meeting in Makati City, Robredo said federalism might also escalate the problem of political dynasty.
The vice president noted that successful federal government is dependent on certain factors: that local government units (LGUs) “have the capacity and competence to handle so much authority and that systems of patronage do not dominate politics on the local level.”
“Practical experience tells us that we enjoy neither. Many of our LGUs are poorly positioned for greater responsibility… If we also look at the economic dependence or independence of our provinces, I think of the 17 regions, only two have internally generated income,” she said.
“And patronage politics continues to hold sway, influencing the outcomes of elections, making public office the business of dynasties,” she added.
The vice president further noted that there are many questions that need to be resolved before she fully supports the initiative.
“It deserves to be discussed really well, in the sense that we don’t really know which model we’ll push… I remember hearing the President, I think twice, saying that the French model will work for us,” Robredo said.
“But if you look at the French model of government, they’re not really federal. So we want to wait until they propose what particular model of federalism is being pushed. And we will demand an exhaustive discussion of that,” she added.
Robredo also said that while the current presidential form of government is not working in the way many Filipinos want it to work, “it is still, as of now, the best option that we have.”
Federalism defines the relationship between the central government at the national level and its constituent units at the regional, state, or local levels.
Under this form of government, each state government controls its own state or region.
In our current form of government, the entire country is being controlled by the central government.
Duterte has been pushing for a charter change for federalism because he believes that it well lessen if not eliminate corruption in the national government.
He also said that federalism is better because the national government does not really know well about the needs of each region.
The President also believes that it will address the concerns of the people in Mindanao who have been fighting for autonomy for many decades now. – MBL