A stalwart of the Davao-based People’s RevGov for Real Democracy (PRRD) on Saturday reminded the Constitutional Commission to stick to five ‘big and rich” states or regions under a proposed federal form of government to ensure that the states could provide basic services to their constituents.
“The danger of creating more states beyond what is economically viable will result in small fiefdoms that are prone to breed warlords,” warned architect Florencio ‘Chito’ Gavino. “This has to be made clear from the start.”
He said that to be economically viable, each of the five envisioned states should have a financial requirement of P200 to 400 billion each to accomplish their obligations of providing basic services to its constituents.
Under the PRRD proposal, the five proposed states should comprise of Northern Luzon, National Capital Region, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan. This is a guaranteed to work out economically-viable, he said.
He said the other ‘make or break’ concern that the Con-Com should must carefully examine is to be able to hammer out power distribution acceptable to both the federal national government and the federal regions or states.
“The Con-com must do it right or else they would be creating more problems that what they intend to solve,” he said.
He said a 50-50 allocation of powers would be ideal.
The federal national government is expected to hold on to national defense, transportation, postal services, Ombudsman, research, citizenship, immigration, Commission on Audit among other powers.
“President Duterte said even the Philippine National Police should be a national federal government function,” Gavino said.
On the other hand, the federal states will assume health, education, social welfare, education, housing, control over natural resources, tourism among other powers.
“The aspiration of every Filipino , including those under the proposed Bangsa Moro region, is to come up with strong federal states,” he said. “Hence, it is important that the powers should be enumerated or laid out very well.”
Gavino scoffed at the idea of creating more states beyond what the PRRD has proposed because “weak states would only encourage mendicancy.”
“To keep on subsidizing the weak states is not the essence of federalism,” he said.
The PRRD is comprised of groups and individuals supportive of a democratic revolutionary government led by President Duterte as well as an envisioned shift to a federal form of government.