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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2018, 12:56:14 AM »

What we have thus is a total overhaul of the country’s institutions, system of governance and the bureaucracy under the leadership and direction of President Duterte. This at a time when we should be addressing the twin problems of mass poverty and gross inequalities.

What are the imponderables? First, on the process: The issue of joint or separate vote by the Senate and the House in the Constituent Assembly. What if the SC says the vote must be separate? And what if the three-fourth vote of the Senate cannot be marshalled by the administration?

Then there is the imponderable of what the President really wants. The imponderable of whether can free and fair elections can be conducted under martial law. And finally there is the judgment of the people in the plebiscite.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2018, 12:56:57 AM »

Secondly, on the substance: Will Congress in a ConAss adopt the good provisions of the ConCom? The ConAss version will surely reflect the power plays of the political dynasties and the compromises of the self-interest of politicians. Senate President Vicente Sotto III has already said that Congress will not pass an anti-dynasty law and President Duterte has publicly said he is not in favor of it. Then again, the two-degree proposal is already tokenism since the Ateneo and World Bank studies define a political dynasty as one of extended families, inter-marriages, and of clans, of which there could be anywhere between 178 (Ateneo) and 200 (WB).

Moreover, some members of the ConCom have reportedly admitted that one of the imponderables is whether federalism will merely empower these dynasties to become more entrenched. There is also the possibility of political violence as they fight for supremacy in the regions. There is, after all, the law of unintended consequences especially in an inductive process as federalism, as admitted by one of authors of the PDP-Laban version, will only indirectly address the urgent problems of mass poverty and gross inequalities.

It is also not clear if all the regions will become federated states immediately even as they strive to stand on their own and if the equalization tax system will work in this regard given the diversity of resources and of capabilities of the regions.

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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2018, 12:58:01 AM »

As one commentator said, changing the structure now with so many uncertainties is like boarding a plane without knowing its destination. So why not consider the cautionary insights of experts like Prof. Gene Lacza Pilapil of the U.P. political science department, who I believe has done the most exhaustive research on institutional design literature. Among other things, Pilapil has observed that there is no consensus on the superiority of a federal to a unitary system of government (there are in fact about 160 unitary systems and about 27 federal systems) and vice-versa. There are arguments on both sides between federal and unitary systems on several key indicators that include: human development, economic performance, income inequality, democratic stability, quality of democracy, rule of law and anti-corruption campaign, and there is no meaningful difference in performance between the two.

Pilapil also suggests reform rather than overhaul for democratic countries with functioning systems. If there is no superiority of either one, why the need to overhaul? Institutional overhaul tasks are too institutionally and intellectually complex for the lofty goals that proponents talk about. From the enthusiasm of the 1990s there is a lot of sobering in the realization that actual empirical outcomes did not conform to the glowing theoretical predictions of reformers.

No democratic country with an existing unitary-presidential setup has been crazy enough to make these constitutional overhauls of form and systems at the same time, (like building a fully functioning political party system to replace political dynasties). There is, after all, the law of unintended consequences to contend with.

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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »

But suppose there are proposals that may be acceptable under other circumstances. Do the benefits from those changes exceed the costs of authoritarian powers to President Duterte even beyond his present term to 2022?

Some people say that the President suffers from illnesses like Narcissistic Personality Disorder” or NPD and of paranoia, which exaggerates threats to himself that is manifested in streaks of vindictiveness. I believe, though, that the issue about him is not “mental illness” but of “dangerousness,” especially if given total powers. And the costs of that on human rights, on social justice and on the economy far outweigh the benefits from the proposed charter change.

How then do we proceed?

First, we have to do our homework. Let us do a thorough and objective study of the ConCom recommendations, as well as the moves of the Congress in the weeks ahead. There may be constitutional reforms worth considering, assuming the government is willing to refine rather than overhaul, like judiciary reforms, voting of the president and vice-president in tandem, a run-off of the presidency. And then there are the major revisions by legislation of the Local Government Code – some 30 provisions arrived at in a nationwide consultative process in 2014 among the academe, LGU officials, central government officials, and NGOs.

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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2018, 01:01:04 AM »

Second: I believe that there is a statesman in every politician and it is up to us to find it in whatever way we can. Democracy is about dialogue and compromise. Maybe the President can be persuaded to consider alternatives that are not divisive and will directly help the poor without changing the form of government, assuming he has no other agenda.

If that approach fails, we would have a battle for the hearts and minds of the people, a battle in which education campaigns, legal activism, and intelligent advocacy would be more effective than sloganeering and street action calling for people power upheavals to bring a duly-elected president down.

We must not only be well-meaning; we must also be correct in our cause and in the manner of pursuing it.

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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2018, 01:02:22 AM »

Real change requires both a transformational leader and a transformational people. Every other combination would be dysfunctional to our objectives, such as:

•   a transactional people and a transactional leader that is about bargaining about power and money. This may be our real situation today.

•   a transactional people and a transformational leader, which would require a long-march; and

•   a transformational people and a transactional leader that will result in revolution.

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islander

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Re: Perils, Pitfalls of Shifting to Federalism
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2018, 01:03:46 AM »

Real change requires us to all change. For real change to happen, our longer-term goal is a new generation of leaders who come from the poor.

This is not a time for silence or indifference, or self-censorship in a climate of fear and retribution. This is the time to think deeply about our future, to organize and to do something worthy of this country.

This is admittedly a difficult agenda. But we have done this before and we can do it again. We have fought five of the last six presidents on issues of principle and have won all of them. As a Pulitzer Prize winner reminds us, the only way people lose power is when they think they don’t have any.

— Speech delivered at the PCIJ Forum on “Democracy & Governance in the Philippines: Deficit, Surplus, and Unfinished Business”, July 5, 2018, Pasig City, Metro Manila

http://pcij.org/

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