Philippines Shift to Federalism, a Political Trap

A proposed federals or regions to be established should the Philippines shift to federal form of government. (Image: by Hellerick [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

A proposed federals or regions to be established should the Philippines shift to a federal form of government. (Image: by Hellerick [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s no particular type or form of government that best addresses to the serious problems in a country that have been deteriorating for decades and decades long!

▲ Is President Duterte still in delusion?

That question is just an understatement of what I have seen President Duterte from campaign period to these days. He even surpassed all my expectations from being, at least, modest in his war against drugs that has now been a large scale of death both to the subjects and to the collateral damage tantamount to a commission of impunity.

Killing the fry and the fingerlings outright does not stop the mother from spawning. Furthermore, publicly consecrating shoot-on-sight order for all subjects involved in drugs is akin to exulting killing outright, giving vigilantes an exclusive license to kill with impunity! President Duterte’s ‘art of war’ on drugs is not only a menace but also an evilest to that very term!

But President Duterte appeared even deeply delusional with his chimerical ambition to shift the Philippines to federalism. He might have thought that this shift could be the best solution, at least, to the deteriorating problems of poverty, graft and corruption, the insurgency in the countryside, the unfair pace of progress, and the irregular, large-scale disparity of regional wealth index.

How in-depth, multifaceted was the government’s study on federalism as the solution to the systemic problems? How advantageous is this shift to the future Filipinos? Or is the shift to federalism preferably advantageous to the politicians in power, or is it rather an outright political trap for the ambitious, hopeful political oppositions?

What makes the shift to federalism a political trap?

My analysis runs deeper down through these only two following premises:

  1. The deteriorating problems in the Philippines are not the system of government, being a unitary presidential constitutional republic. Rather, these problems are consequences of the weak political will of the leaders who have selective interests that tend to lean to those who have the most influence and span.
  2. The Philippines, being a state and when viewed under the characteristics of being a society, is a body of interests. It has a business, especially in politics and economics, that is mostly operated by an organized force, an organized conspiracy, or a concerted effort of exploitation.

The first premise deduces that there is no any type and form of government that can effectively solve the urgent problems of this country that needs urgent solutions. Nor is it a long-term solution to strengthen the political will of those in power to ensure the benefits of all constituents. Rather, this premise explores the opportunity of a willing president of the current form of a system of government to strengthen, address, and carve out effective and sustainable solutions to the deteriorating and urgent problems in the country. Instead of going into the deep sea of experimenting federalism, this Duterte government should rather examine and improve the current workings of the government so as to design and explore mechanisms to fit the requirements of the urgent problems sans total rewriting of the system of the government.

The second premise deduces that the Philippines shift to federalism will only open the floodgate to an unrestrained politics in regional levels. Since the context of federalism draws along the lines of decentralization of authority, a brand of kinship politics (i.e., political dynasty, oligarchy) among regional levels cannot be prevented. Each region or federal could be a vanguard of an organized interest or exploitation that would only cater the best of interests to a particular circle of politicians sitting in power.

Moreover, in a national stage of this cataclysmal shift, Filipino electorates (the voters) would not be able to participate directly in an election anymore. Rather, the members of the Parliament, who are directly or indirectly have connections, favors, or interest to continue their delusions to remain in power, would do have direct participation in choosing the next leader at their own “comfort of interest”. Then, those who are in power today may still come to power tomorrow and forever or until the end of their bloodlines.

Isn’t it too much of a conspiracy? Isn’t it too modest to call it a trap? A political dead end for those hopefuls outside the political sphere of conspiracy and to the nation, above all.

Should Duterte administration pursue this shift through a constitutional assembly (Con-Ass) rather than a constitutional convention/commission (Con Con/Com), who would have thought that the new constitution would be set out against the interest of each member of the Assembly? ▲

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Former stringer for Allvoices and contributor for Yahoo. Had worked as an editor in publishing companies for years and so far has earned some units in MBA.
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4 Responses to Philippines Shift to Federalism, a Political Trap

  1. This discussion on the shift to Federalism is a scholarly critic but all opinion without comparative presentation of Federalism in countries similarly situated. Such apprehension is apparently an indictment that it is a political trap, The initiative of the present administration is a bold step toward change. It may not be a cure-all solution to our socio-political development problems but studies have shown that change for the better is better than status-quo which has shackled our progress for generations. If we remain apprehensive to try we cannot move on. We are afraid of our very own shadow that will keep ourselves to stay in the dark, which is as a matter of fact the political trap?


    • Hi. Thank you very much Zacharias Quintin for your piece. Just to make this clear why no comparative literature being discussed here is that there is no any scholarly study that could give us light why federalism should be the form of government a country must choose when making any shift from the status quo. Another thing, this article does not and never apprehended any change to make from the present. Rather, it does promote progressive change not a total deviation and experimentation of such a system not proven effective by practice. This article is just making sense of what would happen if Duterte gov should pursue the shift blindly.


  2. Pingback: PH Senate Expels De Lima: Is It Fair and Sensible? | MAINBAR

  3. Pingback: Over the late President Marcos burial issue, the law is so clear on his favor! « regel javines


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