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Pros and Cons of Federalism
« on: January 23, 2018, 09:17:30 PM »

Extract from Rappler's Will federalism address PH woes? Pros and cons of making the shift by Pia Ranada and Nico Villarete, January 31, 2016)

What is federalism?

It is a form of government where sovereignty is constitutionally shared between a central governing authority and constituent political units called states or regions.

In basic terms, it will break the country into autonomous regions with a national government focused only on interests with nationwide bearing: foreign policy and defense, for example.

The autonomous regions or states, divided further into local government units, will have primary responsibility over developing their industries, public safety, education, healthcare, transportation, recreation, and culture. These states will have more power over their finances, development plans, and laws exclusive to ther jurisdiction.

The central government and states can also share certain powers.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 09:20:59 PM »

How is it different from what we have now?

We presently have a unitary form of government. Most administrative powers and resources are with the national government based in Metro Manila. It's Malacañang that decides how much to give local government units. The process is prone to abuse, with governors and mayors sometimes having to beg Malacañang for projects they believe their communities need.

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How local government units spend their budget has to be approved by the national government.

In federalism, the states will have the power to make these decisions with little or no interference from the national government.

Examples of federal countries: United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, India, Malaysia.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 09:26:58 PM »

PROS

Locals decide for themselves.
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Regions have their own unique problems, situations, geographic, cultural, social and economic contexts. Federalism allows them to create solutions to their own problems instead of distant Metro Manila deciding for them.

The states can establish policies that may not be adopted nationwide. For example, liberal Metro Manila can allow same-sex marriage which the state of Bangsamoro, predominantly Muslim, would not allow. In the United States, some states like Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana even if other states have not.

This makes sense in an archipelago of over 7,000 islands and 28 dominant ethnic groups. For decades, the national government has been struggling to address the concerns of 79 (now 81) provinces despite challenges posed by geography and cultural differences.

With national government, and thus power, centered in Metro Manila, it's no surprise that development in the mega city has spiralled out of control while other parts of the country are neglected.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 09:29:25 PM »

More power over funds, resources.
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Right now, local government units can only collect real estate tax and business permit fees. In federalism, they can retain more of their income and are required to turn over only a portion to the state government they fall under.

Thus, local governments and state governments can channel their own funds toward their own development instead of the bulk of the money going to the national government. They can spend the money on programs and policies they see fit without waiting for the national government's go signal.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 09:30:48 PM »

Promotes specialization.
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The national and state governments can specialize in different policy domains. With most administrative powers now with the regional governments, the national government can focus on foreign policy, defense, and other nationwide concerns, like healthcare and taxation.

States have more autonomy to focus on economic development using their core competencies and industries. The state of Central Luzon can focus on becoming an agricultural hub. The state of Mimaropa, home to Palawan, can choose to use eco-tourism as its primary launch pad.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 09:32:43 PM »

Possible solution to the Mindanao conflict.
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The creation of the state of Bangsamoro within a federalist system may address concerns of separatists who crave more autonomy over the administration of Muslim Mindanao.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 09:34:10 PM »

Decongestion of Metro Manila.
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Through fiscal autonomy for state governments, federalism will more evenly distribute the country's wealth. In 2015, 35% of the national budget went to Metro Manila even if it represents only 14% of the Philippine population.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 09:35:42 PM »

Lessens dependence on Metro Manila.
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When there is political upheaval in Metro Manila, other regions that have nothing to do with the chain of events are left waiting for the resources that ony the national government can release. With federalism, regions work independently of Metro Manila for most concerns.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 09:37:36 PM »

Brings government closer to the people.
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If detractors say federalism will only make local political dynasties more powerful, supporters give the argument that, in fact, it will make all local leaders, including those part of political dynasties, more accountable to their constituents. State governments will no longer have any excuse for delays in services or projects that, in the present situation, are often blamed on choking bureaucracy in Manila.

Assuming more autonomy for regions leads to economic development, there will be more incentive for Filipinos to live and work in regions outside Metro Manila. More investors may also decide to put up their businesses there, creating more jobs and opportunities to attract more people away from the jam-packed mega city.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 09:38:43 PM »

Encourages competition.
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With states now more self-reliant and in control of their development, they will judge themselves relative to how their fellow states are progressing. The competitive spirit will hopefully motivate state leaders and citizens to level up in terms of quality of life, economic development, progressive policies, and governance.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 09:41:45 PM »

CONS

Possibly divisive.
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Healthy competition among states can become alienating – creating rivalries and promoting the regionalism that some say already challenges the sense of unity in the country. It could enflame hostilities between ethnic groups in the country like Tagalogs, Cebuanos, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Tausugs, and Zamboangueños.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 09:45:14 PM »

Uneven development among states.
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Some states may not be as ready for autonomy as others. Some states may not be as rich in natural resources or skilled labor as others. States with good leaders will progress faster while states with ineffective ones will degrade more than ever because national government will not be there to balance them out.

But in some federal countries, the national government doles out funds to help poorer states. A proposed Equalization Fund will use a portion of tax from rich states to be given to poorer states.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 09:45:51 PM »

Confusing overlaps in jurisdiction.
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Where does the responsibility of state governments end and where does the responsibility of the national government begin? Unless these are very clearly stated in the amended Constitution, ambiguities may arise, leading to conflict and confusion. For instance, in times of disaster, what is the division of responsibilities between state and national governments?

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Re: Pros and Cons of Federalism
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2018, 09:47:24 PM »

May not satisfy separatists in Mindanao.
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Separatists are calling for their own country, not just a state that still belongs to a larger federal Philippines. Federalism may not be enough for them. After all, the conflict continues despite the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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