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Federal RP: Pimentel’s Blueprint

August 16, 2008

We are marking a long weekend so this is opportune to take a closer lookat Senate Resolution # 10, Senator Aquilino Pimentel’s Blueprint for the Federal Republic of the Philippines (FRP).

Resisting making any premature comments, here first are the main points:

  • The FRP will have a 425-Member unicameral Federal Congress with the legislature headquartered in Bohol
  • The declared National Territory encompasses the areas to which the Philippine has pending and unresolved historical claims, meaning the Spratlys and Sabah.
  • GMA is mandated to step down in 2010 and is prohibited from seeking election in the new government.

Read on:

  • The 63-page annex of SR 10 contains 154 proposed revisions of the Constitution.
  • Only two articles, the Bill of Rights and Citizenship, are untouched.
  • Federal House of Representatives will have 75 senators and not more than 350 congressmen, or a total of 425 members.
  • Rationale:

1. “Whereas, the highly centralized system of government has brought about a spotty development of the nation where preferential treatment has been given to localities whose officials are friendly with or have easy access to an incumbent administration;

2. Whereas, this lopsided arrangement has spawned a host of problems including massive nationwide poverty to runaway insurgencies and rebellions that feed on the societal inequalities in the nation;

3. Whereas, creating eleven States out of the Republic would establish 11 centers of finance and development in the archipelago as follows:

  • The 11 Federal States:

1. The State of Northern Luzon;

2. The State of Central Luzon;

3. The State of Southern Tagalog;

4. The State of Bicol;

5. The State of Minparom;

6. The State of Eastern Visayas;

7. The State of Central Visayas;

8. The State of Western Visayas;

9. The State of Northern Mindanao;

10. The State of Southern Mindanao; and

11. The State of BangsaMoro”

  • GMA’s Term Limit:

“Unless the incumbent President is removed from office, dies, or resigns, the Incumbent shall serve until 2010, the year her constitutional term of office ends. She is, however, not qualified to run again for office under the Constitution.”

SR10 does not have any proposal to switch from the presidential to the parliamentary form of government.

  • Longer term limits:

SR10 extends the term limits for members of the House of Representatives, by setting four years, instead of the present three years, as the length of one term, and allowing a maximum of three consecutive terms.

Under SR10, provincial, city, and municipal officials, and also the governor and vice governor of the proposed new states, would all get up to three terms of four years each, longer than at present. Senators would stay within their present limit of two terms of six years each.

  • The State of Bangsamoro:

SR10’s proposed State of Bangsamoro only includes the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, with capital at Marawi City. The areas that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is bargaining for overlap with portions of SR10’s proposed States of Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao.

  • SR10’s proposed State of Northern Mindanao (capital at Cagayan de Oro City):

Covers the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboangay Sibugay, and all cities, municipalities and villages therein.

  • SR10’s proposed State of Southern Mindanao (capital at Davao City) :

Covers the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and all local entities therein.

SR10 seeks to transfer major portions of national government operations to the Visayas and Mindanao. It would keep Manila as the seat of the Executive Branch, but proposes to transfer the Legislative Branch to Tagbilaran City. It would require the Supreme Court to transfer to Cagayan de Oro City within 10 years.

  • The Seat of the unicameral Federal Congress:

The Federal Congress shall hold office and its sessions in the City of Tagbilaran in the State of Central Visayas. Congress may authorize its committees to hold public hearings in aid of legislation or conduct investigations in furtherance of its oversight functions in any part of the Republic.

How the Constituent Assembly will vote:

“NOW, THEREFORE, Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved by the Senate with the House of Representatives concurring, upon a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of both Houses voting separately, to convene Congress into a constituent assembly pursuant to Section 1, paragraph 1 of Article XVll of the Constitution, and revise the Constitution for the purpose of adopting a federal system of government that will create 11 States, constitute Metro-Manila as the Federal Administrative Region, and convert the nation into the Federal Republic of the Philippines.”

Key Revisions Proposed in SR 10:

Revision No. 1.

Section 1. Article 1. National Territory.

The scope of the national territory is hereby revised by adding a new paragraph as follows: The national territory shall likewise include all islands occupied or claimed by the Republic out of historic title, by discovery or other means recognized under international law and its exclusive economic zone as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Revenues and Taxes

(2) All revenues and taxes collected by the local government units or by national government agencies in accordance with the Local Government Code of 1991, Republic Act No. 7160, shall be divided in the following manner: twenty percent (20%) shall accrue to the Federal Government and eighty percent

(80%) to the States. (3) Of the share accruing to the States, thirty percent (30%) shall pertain to the

State concerned and seventy percent (70%) shall be apportioned among the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangay according to the formula stated in the Local Government Code of 1991.

Revision No. 2.

New Section. Article XIV. Utilization of Local Resources.

States may pursue local development in the utilization of mineral, marine and aquatic, forest and other natural resources. They may engage in local and international trade and commerce to attain self sufficiency and progress within their respective territories subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution.

Revision No. 3.

New Section. Article XIV. Small-Scale Utilization and Development of Natural Resources.

The right of citizens to engage in the small-scale utilization and development of natural resources, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to the right of the subsistence fishermen and fish workers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons as provided in the Local Government Code of 1991 shall not be abridged.

(Note: Senators Rodolfo Biazon and Panfilo Lacson have withdrawn their signatures from the resolution.)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Aldwin permalink
    August 18, 2008 8:35 pm

    Why Federalism?
    Here are my opinions:

    1. It will just crate confusions and conflicts in the later years. The 11 proposed states are individual entity that will compose one federal government as a whole representation to the world. Do our law makers have some insight and look on what they will make out of our country? or are they just want to model it exactly as here in the US? (Which personally will be a big mistake in our country.) Example is, one state will allow the carrying of gun, but the federal law will prohibit it? so which one will prevail? Do they have to go to the court to settle? which court? the court controlled by the federal states? That’s a bullshit considering the traits of some of our country fellowmen that is way short of good intentions and logic.

    2. Right now, not even 1/4 of our politicians are honest and do their job as a good citizen with patriotism. How much more damage can they do if they will extend their power beyond the current province they hold? They (mayors and governors) are the major hindrances on the economic advances of their respective provinces. Provinces that is still small compare to what is proposed states, and yet they cannot handle it properly as a good citizen, how much more if you lend them power that is beyond control of its citizen? What economic achievement will it make in the future?

    3. We don’t need a change on the form of government. WE DO NEED TO CHANGE THE PEOPLE IN OUR GOVERNMENT. WE NEED PATRITISM AND GOOD GOVERNANCE. We also need to teach our people of the word RESPECT and LAW. We do need to change the world how the younglings been taught. We do need them to be taught properly. We do need large number of psychologist and psychotherapist in our country.
    Maybe it is this ‘change of form of government’ is our law makers saw as a large scale psychotherapy in our country but again it will not last long enough compared to teach every single younglings of right and proper attitude towards development.

    4. Will they change the official name of our country? They better not. Just call it The Philippines what ever is the form of its government.

    —to be continued—

  2. Aldwin permalink
    August 18, 2008 10:20 pm

    5. Correct me if I am wrong but the way I see it why th US is federal form is that at the start they are nations here who wants to have a common representation to the world, which is in fact a different matter in our country. Will the government give in to the demands of a few people who wanted to be a separate country in southern part of the country? Will they sacrifice many for the benefit of the few? Is it what the people as a whole really want or they are just too tired to argue?

    6. Are they serious on the ‘mandated step down of a particular person specifically GMA?’ The way I see it is it is always about politics, power, and control of few.

    7. Just pass a bill defining the territory of The Philippines.

    8. Don’t just make a law that is applicable today but for days to come. I do know that they’ll tell you that ‘change is the only constant in the world’ we if they do have some insights and deeper study on these matters. We have a lot of resources and lessons learned from other countries that can be applied to our country if they just listen to it.

    9. Impose a better system to disclose those politicians that are corrupt and thus not contributing to the provinces or local municipalities. Have some honor and respect to step down if found guilty. Teach the people not to practice vote-buying. ( Sabi nila -in a national TV News- kaya nila ipinagbibili ang kanilang boto eh ganun din naman daw kase kahit siong maupo sa gobyerno, wala pa ring pagbabago, so mas pinipili nila ang may ibabayad atleast daw napakinabangan nila that time. Wala din naman daw pag-asa kahit sino pa maupo eh. – Which is a very sad reality which leads to my suggestion of teaching the youglings a better attitude.) How will they teach everybody? I have several steps and procedures, but let our law makers draft it what’s on their minds. They do have more experience than me, but I hope they will do it right.

    10. I thank you for reading this opinions. I also thank those politicians that are true to their jobs and their people. And for those city that has its mayors for almost the same tenure as Marcos have and still a little bit short of improvement despite of its huge income – well all I can say is Marcos regime was better than your regime coz Marcos has an eye on the future but you don’t. I am not trying to approve or endorse anything here, but we cannot say whos right or wrong. (just like if we are asked whose right, China or US? US or Russia? it will depend on who we ask and to are the direct hit of what we ask.)

    AGAIN WE NEED AN ATTITUDE CHANGE. NOT A FORM OF GOVERNMENT. WE DO NEED TO CHANGE THE PEOPLE’s PERCEPTION OF GOVERNMENT or else, we will just be like a duck waiting to be shot by a few hunters.

  3. Roque Varon permalink
    August 24, 2008 8:22 am

    I support the idea of Federalism but I have reservations with the Pimentel proposals.

    I support the idea of Federalism because the current form of Government does not support regional aspirations for growth (economic, political cultural), sustainable development and self-determination. Our present overly centralized form of government supports regional elite interests of provincial and regional politicians. The present form of government is but the continuation of the colonial attempt of the Spain and the US to centrally control the highly diverse and freedom loving people of the Philippine Archipelago. In short, the current concept of Filipino Nationhood is an imposed consciousness anchored on colonial design for subjugation rather than regional aspirations for one nation.

    I agree with Aldwins idea on the need for attitudinal change of our leaders however, I think this is very difficult, if not impossible, with our current centralized government. Our national leaders need mandate from provincial and regional leaders supposedly representing the people. With a people with high regional consciousness but lacking national awareness, the regional politicians will just use this people to gain support from the national government who controls government resources. henceforth, a ripe situation for a political culture of patronage.

    If we allow peoples regional consciousness to develop as the way it was during the colonial times, there is a strong possibility that Filipino Nationalism would develop beyond to what it is now.

    Regionalism is very strong in the Philippines and I think this is a strong force for development not as hindrance as many people think. I have seen how municipal governments and schoold never bother to fly the tattered national flag almost whole year round but spend thousands if not millions for their municipal or provincial festivals that somehow promoted their regional identity. I see this as a sign that people in the Philippines have strong regional cultural awareness but was not able to develop it further into a political consciousness. i believe that a Federal set up of government could help develop this consciosness.

    As to why I have some reservations with Pimentels’ Resolution, I’ll discuss it in my next posting.

  4. August 24, 2008 9:07 am

    Aldwin, Roque,

    Both of you hit the crux of the issue. The sooner the new baselines law is enacted, the better for our country. Beyond such law’s updating however, and whatever may happen tom Pimentel’s federalism, proposal, the element criticial, to my mind is for us to have a genuinely elected leader with a vision and with the will to assert our territorial integrity, not tp surrender our sovereignty to malefactors posing as fighters for their ethnicity or misappropriating religion for extremist political ends. More so it should be Filipinos for Filipinos and not fireiigners with designs on our natural resources pulling puppet strings in the peace process.

  5. Darrell permalink
    September 8, 2008 4:06 am

    I support Federalism 100%! I also agree 100% to the comments of the two gentlemen before me that what we need is a change in attitude and not the form of government but let us not forget that the reason why Senator Pimentel is pushing for SR 10 is to finally put an end to the numerous attempt to dismember the Republic. Mindanao is and will always be part of the Philippines. The issue of Federalism is entirely different from the move to change our Presidential Form of government to Parliamentary.

    Mabuhay tayong lahat!

  6. prinz permalink
    September 22, 2008 3:45 pm

    will it really bring good to us?…
    or it will just cause much damage, more than what we are experiencing right now.

  7. macabalen permalink
    December 15, 2008 10:45 am

    Many or most of the suggested states are artificial and do not reflect cultural or historical realities. Central Luzon, for instance, is an artificial entity to which no one would owe loyalty. The Tagalog and Ilocano portions should be transferred to their respective states, while the Kapampangan portion should be made a separate state. According to Dr. Rene Azurin:“But, of the proposed eleven (or so) federal states, no more than a few – like the Cebuano state or the Pampangueno-Tarlaqueno state – would actually be able to stand on their own financially.”
    (Azurin, Rene. On Decentralizing Government, p. 5. Paper presented at the Dialogues on Federalism. Center for Local and Regional Governance, NCPAG, UP Diliman, Quezon City, 3 August 2007. Originally published in the book Stationary Bandits: Essays in Political Power, also by Dr. Azurin. Platypus Press, 2007).

    The Kapampangan State has a sufficiently large area and population to become a federal state. Kapampangan-majority areas – Pampanga province, plus the highly urbanized city of Angeles, the Tarlac towns of Bamban, Capas and Concepcion, and the city of Tarlac – together registered a population of 2, 398, 144 in 2000. This is larger than the Cordillera and Caraga regions (1, 365, 412 and 2, 095, 367, respectively, in 2000) and nearly as large as the ARMM (2, 412, 159 in 2000). Its area (3, 424.68 sq km) is much bigger than that of Metro Manila (636 sq km). Moreover, it is larger in area and population than at least 26 countries, including Barbados, Grenada, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius and Seychelles, and in population than another 26 including Brunei, Cyprus, Estonia, Fiji, Gabon, Guyana and Swaziland. It is larger in area than both Singapore and Hong Kong.

    Of the eight major language groups, only Kapampangans and Pangasinenses do not have regions of their own, and hence have not been given separate states in most proposals for federalization.

  8. jinok permalink
    June 15, 2009 4:25 pm

    My stand is, we do need change, a switch from unitary to federal-parliament is attainable. The move toward federalism should be purposive and deliberative. The process should also be participatory and broad-based.

    Corruption and other unethical acts of politicians rooted from the old centralized structure of our government, thus making corruption, a political culture that made our country a den of thieves. (House of Representathieves).

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