"First things first."
Last week, before the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, President Duterte said Filipinos were accustomed to directly voting national and local candidates, which would not make federalism work in the Philippines. He said this in a speech in Cotabato City.
Was it an indication that he is realizing federalism is a leap into the unknown?
Does it mean that he will no longer be pushing for federalism?
Santa Banana, whatever it is, federalism is now dead in the water. It will simply not happen because four in five Filipinos are not aware of what it is about and what it entails. There has not been a massive education and information campaign conducted for the purpose.
For one thing, it has come to be divisive. The consultative commission that came up with a draft charter envisioned 19 federated states, the National Capital Region included.
Are local governments ready for it? I don’t believe so. They will still seek the help of the national government.
The cost, too, of shifting to a federalism form of government would be tremendous. We do not have the funds for it.
The third argument against federalism is how to make the federated states work. Many parts of the country have limited resources, even as there are parts that are self-sufficient.
Federalism is something whose time hasn’t yet come. There are many other problems we must face, like poverty and joblessness. First things first. Federalism can wait.
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The proposed abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel will not push through, after all.
The PCGG, which was created by the Cory Aquino administration, was supposed to go after the alleged hidden wealth of the Marcoses.
As for the OGCC, the plan was to place it under the Office of the Solicitor General for better coordination.
I would like to ask, though: How many of the 300 firms sequestered still have “fiscal agents” working? I have been told that in many of them, there are no longer fiscals and agents, but now holding sequestered shares by PCGG board members. Santa Banana, this means that PCGG commissioners are now getting double compensation. Isn’t this anomalous?
The PGCC is another thing. The lawyers here have been accused of receiving excessive allowances from the government, contrary to law. What of the government drive to end corruption.
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Reports have it that Sulu voted “no” in last Monday’s plebiscite for the BOL. That stands to reason. The government of Sulu, under its governor, has questioned the law before the Supreme Court saying it is unconstitutional.
What is questionable in connection with the plebiscite is the “yes” votes of Cotabato City which means it would not be included in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
With its inclusion in the BARMM, I wonder: What will now happen to Cotabato City? Will the Christians here have to migrate?
The MILF may now be rejoicing with the results of the plebiscite, but they must remember there is still the Moro National Liberation Front of Nur Misuari.
Will the plebisicte end the conflict in Mindanao? I don’t think so. Peace and development are still a dream.
Opposition to the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility to nine years old is mounting. I cannot blame those who are against it. Why are members of the House so stupid?
The government does not even have facilities for children who would be detained. It is unthinkable to detain them with hardened adult criminals.
Every Filipino should be alarmed by this proposal. It’s a good thing the Senate does not seem to agree with their counterparts at the Lower House.