Posted by: luvin | February 22, 2007

Federalism

In the era of regional integration, as exemplified by the european union, it would appear that federalism is a swim against the current. Proponents of centrist governance would argue that the way to survive the chinese tornado that is about to swallow of what is left of the world’s economy is to band together in the formation a singular force that could approximate the might of China or India. Indeed, this is not the time to be alone. It is the right time for team work, where each party will have the opportunity to utilize their full strength, where decision would be consensual.

The groups strength will be as strong as its weakest link, and this is the best argument why federalism should be the path to follow. With federalism, local governments will be empowered, they will grow stronger, and will become a bigger contributor to the national economy.  At present our economy could be likened to a family that is generally dependent with the father as the sole bread winner. We all know that parents should let go and allow their children to seek their own fortune, find their space, and become a contributor the family coffers.

People in the provinces find it hard to swallow the fact that Manila based businesses are not paying income taxes in the places where they do business. In Iligan City for example, Philippine National Power Corporation is operating one of its profitable business enterprise, but a closer look at the benefits that Iliganons get from NPC reveals a dismal gain. Jobs, of course , yet the best jobs still goes to people from the center, several downstream industries maybe, and the tax derived from Mayors permit. That’s just about there is.  A corporation is mandated to pay thirty two percent tax (32%) from its income. If NPC earns billions in Iligan, it is rational that they share their harvest with the people there. If it earns one billion, Iligan should recieve about three hundred twenty million. Include all the other Metro Manila based enterprises  that operate in the area, the amount would be huge enough to propel that southern city to prosperity. And it would catalyzed the growth of other industry in nearby locales. Iligan could be another growth center in Mindanao. This is the principle of growth centers that made Japan, Taiwan, Korea very successful.

Progress would naturally flow down to Lanao provinces, and it will also contribute to the progress of the impoverish province. And naturally, it will have a calming effect with regards to the isurgency problem in the area.

For the conglomerates, it would mean greater market. Whereas today, the country’s major market is located in Metro Manila, thus the present saturation naturally contributed to  the slow growth of the national economy. If we are to compare our market ventures with our neighbors, we will realize that our industrial leaders here are small fishes in the international arena. It could be argued that that effort to control the local business is in the end counter productive.

Federalism then would help us prepare for the international competition. Like an athlete that needs to first fully grow its muscles before it plunges into a more intense competition.

The best argument, however, is the people’s yearning for self determination. Who should determine what the people of Visayas and Mindanao desires?  It is not correct for people from Manila to say what is right and what is not right for other regions.  The people of Mindanao have different sensibilities with the people from the North. The very reason why they should be given their own space to live according the peculiarity of their culture.

This centrist mentality, and the falacious over confidence from the central plain, (perhaps unconsciusly) assuming that they are superior from their southern countrymen is turning to be one of the big hurdles towards progress. It has been years since Universities have been established in Visayas and Mindanao, some are even older than most of the universities and colleges in Metro Manila, but there is a deep seated belief that people there are not educated, that people there are not capable of self governance.

With federalism, though, respect will be set in place and we could be more civilized in our conversation. We will not only be moving towards better economic fields, but we will also be moving towards a more humane society.

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Responses

  1. I suspect that the latest compromise regarding state banking regulation points to the influence of large corporations on the Congress as a culprit in the on-going eclipse of federalism. I have just posted on this, in case you are interested.


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