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The concept of a federal government for the Philippines was

proposed as early as the Philippine Revolution with Filipino
revolutionaries Emilio Aguinaldo and Apolinario Mabini suggesting
dividing the islands into three federal states.

One of the first proponents of federalism in the Philippines in

the 21st century is University of the Philippines professor Jose
Abueva who argued that a federal form of government is necessary
to more efficiently cater to the needs of the country despite its
The primary goals of a constitutional amendment is to increase decentralization,
greater local power and access to resources most especially among regions
outside Metro Manila which has long been dubbed as rather imperial.

Aside from Abueva, senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. is a prominent supporter of

federalism who, since 2001, has advocated for federalism. He sees the
proposed system as a key component in alleviating the Mindanao crisis and
appeasing Moro insurgents. Even though the purpose of Federalism was never
intended to appease any followers of any specific ideology of religion.
Federalism will also hasten economic development since resource and financial
mobilization is upon each states' or provinces' discretion without significant
constraint from the central government
Due to the Senate and Congress resolutions supporting charter change, an
estimated 13,000 to 15,000 people gathered in Makati in 2009 to protest
against administration proposals for constitutional reform. This was in line with
speculations that Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would use such
amendment to extend her hold in office.

In addition, Pulse Asia published in the same year their survey regarding public
support towards the proposed charter change. Their report stated that four out
of ten Filipino adults or 42% of all respondents opposed the amendment.
Meanwhile, 25% were still undecided and 33% were in favor. Pulse Asia
furthered that from 2006 to 2009, there was no significant change of sentiment
against charter change, but indecision increased by 6%.
Beginning in late 2014, Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte launched a
nationwide campaign promoting a charter change for federalism. During his visit
to Cebu City in October of the same year, Duterte stated that federalism will
facilitate better delivery of services to the people.

He also saw the current system as "antiquated" where distribution of public

funds is disproportionately biased towards Manila. Aside from the economic
aspect, federalism is also seen as the best means to address problems in
Mindanao which suffers the most from ethnoreligious conflicts.

He added that the current unitary form of government has not worked well given
the ethnic diversity in the country.
In spite of rejecting several calls for candidacy for the 2016
presidential elections, he also cited his reforms if he were to be
president. Parallel to his campaign for federalism, Duterte plans to
privatize tax collection and abolish the Congress to make way for a
unicameral legislature, contrary to the originally proposed Joint
Resolution No. 10.

Movements for federalism were further intensified since the draft of

the Bangsamoro Basic Law was submitted by Philippine president
Benigno Aquino III to the Congress in September 10, 2014.
If approved, this law establishes the Bangsamoro as an
autonomous region with its own parliamentary government and
police force. Approval of the Bangsamoro structure provides
federalism proponents and supporters added confidence to clamor
for the national government to enact reforms towards a more
decentralized system for the rest of the country.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte stated in May 2016 that a plebiscite

on the proposed replacement of the unitary state with a federal one
will be held in two years. On December 7, 2016, Duterte signed
Executive Order No. 10 creating a consultative committee to review
the 1987 Constitution
The main point of Federalism is it will give a:
•Better Democracy- best suited for Philippine Federalism by giving
the constituents voice and be heard by the state government and
empowering the local communities where ordinary people, local
political parties and other democratic personalities to give reaction
and participate in the decision-making, give honor and bring justice
to the state government officials who failed to execute laws, order,
social services, and justice. This is what we call Democratic
• Good Governance- this composes of 8 extra-ordinary
I. Participatory
II. Consensus Oriented
III. Accountability
IV. Transparency
V. Responsive-positive reaction
VI. Effective and efficient
VII. Equitable
VIII. Inclusive
• Governance for cultural diversity- this gives autonomy to
the diverse Filipino cultures based on dialect, religious
belief to manage their own economic and political affairs
in the government to become more effective.

We all know that Pres. Duterte and PDP Laban are proposing the
Federal Form of Government. This issue is all over the news and
people, some people don't agree to this. Federalism is but an
instrument, a vehicle for carrying solutions in a new constitution. It is
a structural platform that will constitute the base in which the nuts-
and-bolts solution to our social problems will be grounded and
fastened. You cannot judge the beauty of a house by just looking at
its foundation.
The way to unpack the President’s federalism project is through a clarification of
purpose(s), by asking which problems he is trying to solve.

Does he see our unitary state as a source of the political and bureaucratic
bottleneck that has only served as a barrier to provincial growth? Has our
Manila-centric politics failed to unlock the vast potential of the other regions,
and sapped resources away from them? Is the attention lavished on Manila so
undue as to suppress the identities of the various ethnic communities in the
country? Is this about the flow of taxes and wealth, such that we need a
constitutional repiping of the channels of resources to allow a more equitable
distribution of income? Is this about who gets to control our natural resources?
Or is this about the sale of agricultural lands? How will a federal structure
change the way basic services are conceptualized and delivered?
These questions must be raised not only so that we can have reasonable bases
for buying into the project or rejecting the offer but also because we need to
assess whether such out-of-the-box, extraconstitutional measures can be
accommodated by more modest, less expensive, within-the-box solutions.

For instance, the goal of decentralization may be remedied by a more potent

local government code. Redistribution of bureaucratic powers may also be done
through a revision of the administrative code. We can also do constitutional
amendments for autonomous regions. In other words, once made aware of the
problems, we just might realize that the patient need not be opened up and can
be cured by minor operations requiring local, not general, anesthesia.
Regardless of the situation, we should take advantage of the President’s open-
mindedness and willingness to propose solutions that he believes are
commensurate to the gravity of the problems our society is facing. After all,
when political scientists talk about a shift toward a federalist structure, what we
have is an academic discussion; when it is the President who speaks about it,
what we have is a real conversation.