The Federal Solution

By Ricky Poca
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 14:08:00 04/29/2008

Eleven senators filed last Wednesday Senate Resolution No. 10, “A Resolution Convening Congress into a Constituent Assembly for the Purpose of Revising the Constitution to Establish a Federal Form of Government.” A federal form of government is being pushed “to decentralize and sped up the development of the countryside and help dissipate the causes of poverty and insurgency, particularly the Moro rebellion.” The Senate resolution correctly pointed out that “this (centralized system) lopsided arrangement has spawned a host of problems, including massive nationwide poverty to runaway insurgencies and rebellions that feed on social inequalities in the nation.” [...]

The proposed federal form gives more autonomy in governance for the 11 states. State governments will wield enormous powers to sufficiently and quickly address concerns and problems that are peculiar to their areas.

In the executive government, the state will be headed by the state governor, who will have his own cabinet members coming from the different state departments. The executive department will be responsible for the administration and execution of the state laws that will be drafted by the state congress.

The state Congress, the legislative department will formulate laws enforceable in the territorial jurisdiction of the state. The state Congress can either be unicameral or bicameral.

The state supreme court will exercise judicial powers within its territorial jurisdiction. It will be the highest appellate court that provides final interpretation of the laws made by the state congress. In the United States, there are states that have state supreme courts, although in New York, the highest appellate court is not the supreme court but the state court of appeals.

So what ultimately will happen under the proposed federal form? Basically what we are doing is just breaking the humongous present highly-centralized government into smaller governments that are equipped with all the necessary powers of governance and are provided with better finances to respond to the peculiarities of the different parts of our country. Meaning, instead of having one highly-centralized government that will almost always be responsible in solving the many problems of the country, we shall then have many governments that will now share in solving the problems. We shall therefore be bringing the government – executive, legislative and the judiciary – closer to the people.

Let me warn you that the move to adopt a federal form, while it is a presidential campaign promise, has remained elusive because, naturally, the people in the centralized government do not want to give up their powers and the privileges that come with it. It is expected that the bureaucrats will vehemently resist change. Some local officials will object to the proposed federal form because their offices will be dissolved, as these will be another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, which the federal form intends to eliminate. In short, federalism rightly seeks to simplify the bureaucracy and bring the government closer to the people. I think that is the essence of democratic governance...

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