Will federalism bring about change?
THE answer is yes! Or so say the incumbent administration and the Duterte sympathizers. The problems of poverty, inequality and violence, among others, had been getting worse, despite optimistic rhetoric every time a new tenant occupies Malacañang. The current president seem so convinced that only a federal form of government could bring lasting peace and progress to the entire country, but especially in Mindanao. But will changing the form of government be the magic wand that will transform the country into a never-never land of utopian peace and prosperity?
President Ferdinand E. Marcos was more believably equipped with both rhyme and reason when he presented his “new-society” ideology which was guaranteed with his battle cry that “this country can be great again.” That, of course, did not happen. Instead, the Philippines became fractured into penury, human rights violations and plunder after about 14 years of dictatorship.
But while Marcos had logic and a first presidential term to backup a track record, Duterte only has rhetoric that still need a good deal of substantiating. His one-track view of bringing about change is the revision of the 1987 Constitution by changing the form of government from unitary to federal system. But there are neither guarantees nor empirical data to prove his claim, only thug-talk laced with expletives and profanities. The lengthening list of unfulfilled promises that were enumerated at his first State of the Nation Address makes the building blocks for change even more doubtful—despite changing the fundamental law of the land.
In a joint pastoral guidelines issued by the four Dioceses of Negros, the bishops expressed the Church’s concern “whether the proposed change would lead us to the attainment of the common good” or “whether it would be for the better or for the worse.”
One can only pray that changing the form of government or the Constitution will succeed in transforming the country into better one.