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Federalism: Empowering

Regional or State Governments

Dr. Antonio P. Delos Reyes, MPA, MDM
Assisant Schools Division Superintendent-DepED Davao del Norte
Visiting Professor-Philippine Councilors League-Legislative Academy
Former Assistant Schools Division Superintendent-DepED Compostela
DepED Schools Division Superintendent Exam Passer(EMT 2005)
Career Executive Service Officer Exam-MATB and Assessment Center
Resident Professor-PCL-LA-University of Makati Consortium Executive
Leadership Program
Former Professor, MPA-MBA Program, School of Business and
Governance, Ateneo de Davao University
Principle of Local Autonomy in the Paper State
The local autonomy principle enunciated in the 1987
Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991
are supposed to promote decentralization and actual
devolution or transfer of powers and functions from
the National Government to the local governments.
In practice, the National Government is still highly
Federalism is related to the principle of
popular sovereignty which states: Sovereignty
resides in the people and all government
authority emanates from them (Article II,
Section 1 of 1987 Philippine Constitution)
Federal System is based on the principle of dual
sovereignty. Accordingly, it argues that governmental
powers shall be distributed and shared between the
Federal Government (National Government) and the
States (Regional Governments) and their local
What Federalism can do for the Filipinos
Federal Republic promotes just and enduring framework for peace
through unity in our ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity,
especially in relation to Bangsa Moro or Muslim Filipinos.
Federalism empowers citizens by enabling them to raise their
standard of living and enhance their political awareness,
participation and efficacy in making important government
Federalism improves governance by empowering and challenging
State and local leaders and entrepreneurs around the country.
More Benefits of Federalism
Federal system hastens the countrys development.
Federal system improves governance by promoting
development of program-oriented political parties
responsible and accountable to the people for their conduct
and performance in and out of power.
Federal system broadens and deepens democracy and
make its institutions deliver constitutional promise of
human rights, better life for all, a just and humane
society, and responsible and accountable political
leadership and governance.
Proposed Federal States in the Philippines
Bangsamoro-ARMM: Lanao del Sur, Marawi City,
Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi
Central and Southern Mindanao-Region XI: Compostela
Valley, Davao, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, South
Cotabato, Sarangani; Region XII: Cotabato, Sultan
Kudarat, Lanao del Norte
Northern and Western Mindanao-Region IX: Zamboanga
del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay;
Region X: Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental,
Misamis Oriental; Caraga Region: Agusan del Norte,
Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur
Eastern Visayas-Region VII: Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol,
Siquijor; Region VIII: Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte,
Northern Samar, Samar (West), Eastern Samar
Western Visayas-Palawan-Region IV: Palawan; Region VI:
Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Island
Bicol-Region V: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur,
Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon; Region IV: Romblon];
Southern Luzon-Region IV: Rizal, Quezon, Laguna,
Batangas, Aurora, Cavite, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro
Oriental, Marinduque
Metro Manila-Manila, Quezon City, Makati City,
Mandaluyong City, Pasig City, Pasay City, Marikina City,
Caloocan City, Muntinlupa City, Las Pinas City, Paraaque
City, Valenzuela City, Navotas, Malabon, Taguig, Pateros,
San Juan
Central Luzon-Region III: Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija,
Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales
Northern Luzon and Cordillera-Region I: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos
Sur, La Union, Pangasinan; Region II: Batanes, Cagayan,
Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino]; [Cordillera Administrative
Region: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mt.
In the 1987 Constitution, the term State refers to the Republic
of the Philippines or the Philippines as a whole because it is a
unitary State.
However, in the proposed new federal Constitution for the
Federal Republic of the Philippines with a Parliamentary
Government or Presidential Form, the term State refers to each
of the Federal States that make up the Federal Republic.
Attaining the Dreams of the People
Blessings of democracy, good governance. The
maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life,
liberty, and property, the promotion of economic growth
and efficiency, and the enhancement of the peoples well-
being and general welfare are essential for the enjoyment
by all the people.
Effective party system. The Federal Republic shall
promote the development of an effective party system
for the proper functioning of representative
democracy and the government system in the
Federation and in the regional States. That is why
in the parliamentary form, the majority political
party elected rules the party government.
The Federal Republic and the States
recognize and promote the rights of
indigenous peoples and cultural
communities within the framework of
national unity and development.
Autonomy and economic viability of
States and local governments. The Federal
Republic shall ensure the autonomy and
promote the economic viability of the
States and their constituent local
In setting up the Federal Republic the
revised federal Constitution divides the
powers of government into three types:
enumerated powers, reserved powers, and
concurrent powers.
All of these divided powers are
intended to ensure the integrity and
solidarity of the Federal Republic in
case of conflicts in the relations
between the Federation and the States.
The creation of the Constitutional
Tribunal or Court helps to settle all
disputes on constitutionality
between the Federal Government
and the States and among the
Although Alexander Hamilton, one of the founders of the
oldest constitutional court, promoted the judiciary as the least
dangerous branch of government in 1788 (The Federalist No.
78 ), judicial practice has since proven that constitutional
courts have considerable power potential and are less feeble,
than Hamilton suggested. Since the mid-twentieth century,
constitutional courts have become particularly popular
features in the constitutions of newly federalized states,
specifically due to potential to powerfully constrain the other
governmental branches. In these states, constitutional courts
carry the burden of safeguarding the democratic system.
Supremacy of the Federal Constitution

Federal laws are supreme than the

states laws policies in case of
conflicts and doubts on
Veto Points in a Federal Structure are
Any states have the constitutional right to
question, block, support or reverse federal policy or
program when perceived inimical to the general
interest. The case in point is the recent immigration
and travel policy of US President Donald J. Trump
of which the federal court issued injunction to
prevail equality and freedom of travel regardless of
race, ethnic, religion or cultural background.
Distributed Powers Between Federal, State and Local Governments
Exclusive Powers Exclusive Powers Powers Shared by Services Provided
of Federal of State Federal and by Local
Government Governments States Governments
Establish local
Print Money governments Establish courts Education
Issue licenses
Declare war (driver's and Create and collect Police
marriage) taxes
Establish and army Regulate intrastate Build highways and
and navy commerce roads Fire
Enter into treties
with foreign Conduct elections Borrow money Human services
Distributed Powers Between Federal, State and Local Governments
Exclusive Powers Exclusive Powers Powers Shared Services Provided
of Federal of State by Federal and by Local
Government Governments States Governments

Regulate Commerce Ratify amendments to Make and enforce Public works and other
between states and Federal Constitution laws constructions
international trade

Establish post offices Provide for public Charter banks and Urban planning and
and issue postage health and public corporations zoning

Make laws necessary Establish state Economic

to enforce the constitution Transporation development, parks
constitution and recreation
Advantages of a Parliamentary System within the Federal
Structure, according to Citizens Movement for a Federal
It greatly facilitates the exercise and coordination of legislative
and executive powers in the Parliament, in pursuit of desired policies
and programs of government.
Promotes the election of a Head of Government who has the
leadership and experience in building consensus for developing the
unity and strength of a political party, shaping its program of
government and policies, and attracting popular support for the
political party and its program of government.
Facilitates the timely change of governmental leadership whenever
necessary and thus prevent the resort to extra-constitutional change
of the Head of Government which can lead to political instability.
Promotes the development of purposeful and effective political
Empowers the people to choose the candidates and political party
they want to govern the country.
Reduces the high cost of electing the Head of Government as in our
Presidential System.
Prevents the election of the Head of Government on the basis
largely of personal popularity or celebrity status as projected in the
media or cinema.
The conflict between the President and the
Legislature and the gridlock in law-making
and policy-making that often delays and
weakens the Presidential System would be
minimized in the Parliamentary System.
But, a caveat, the formation of a
parliamentary government or retaining
the presidential form with federal set-up of
government system totally depends on the
new proposal of the Constitutional
Commission created by President Rody
The Parliamentary System reduces the high and
increasing cost of electing a President nationwide to
become the Head of Government and Head of State in our
Presidential System. Unlike the present structure,
President, the Prime Minister will be first elected in a
parliamentary district, like the present congressional
district, not nationwide. The majority party or coalition in
the Parliament then elects its leader to become the Prime
Likewise, the shift to a Parliamentary System
will prevent the election of a President on the basis
mainly of personal popularity rather than of
competence, experience and support by a
representative, responsible, program-oriented
political party that the people can hold accountable
with the President for their conduct and
performance in office.
Sharing of Wealth in the Federal System
Federal government is committed to the principle of
making equalization payments to ensure that state or
regional governments have sufficient revenues to provide
reasonably comparable levels of public services at
reasonably comparable levels of taxation.
Equalization and regional disparities will be seemingly
addressed in the federal system by sharing resources and
revenues responsive and relevant to the social, political and
economic conditions of regional governments.
Inter-regional fiscal balance, to some extent,
involves the reduction of disparities in revenue
capacity and expenditure responsibilities among the
federal states. The federal government can organize
an equalization fund council to oversee and
respond to the imbalances of regional financial
The concept of federal-state fiscal balance
implies an appropriate distribution of
revenues between the two levels of
government, so that each level is able to
finance its expenditure responsibilities;
this notion of balance groups the federal
states together as a whole.
The tax expenditure budget divides tax expenditures into
categories that demonstrate their wide regulatory range
and reveal federal activity in areas of local concern.
Traditional areas of federal interest-such as national
defense, veterans' benefits, and international affairs-
find expression in the tax expenditure budget, but so do
areas of traditional state and local concern, such as
housing, community development, education, social
services, and health. This is determined through the
shared power of taxation.
The further revisions of the 1987
Philippine Constitution relative to fiscal
and revenue distribution and
administration should look into the level
of readiness for each federal state to
engage into the operations of the entire
federal republic. The key is balance and
rationality of public finance.
End of Presentation