The consultant of the Davao-based People’s RevGov for Real Democracy (PRRD) alliance on Friday said the Consultative Committee missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set things right for this country with its decision to come up with 18 regional states.
“It failed to disturb the waters,” said Architect Florencio “Chito” Gavino, partly quoting a prayer popularized by the late Mindanao federalism advocate, Rey Magno Teves.
He said that if it were a ship, the Con-com failed to sail out to sea and promptly found itself grounded in a maze of corrals from just beyond the shore.
Gavino said the Con-com decided to play safe for the sake of political expediency and convenience with its 18-state gambit and botched the chance to embrace the challenge ‘for an opportunity at greatness’ with lesser but economically-viable number of states.
He called on the Con-com to compromise with federalists on the number of federal regions, echoing the PRRD’s position that 18 federal regions will fragmentize the Philippines into ‘political fiefdoms’ that would in turn breed warlordism and promote mendicancy.
Gavino said there is great whale of difference between a strong nation and a strong central government.
“The first adheres to a moral, democratic government anchored on the principle of subsidiarity while the latter follows the immoral, imperialistic principle of centralization,” he said, adding that President Duterte himself has been repulsive to ‘a strong central government.’
He said that as compromise, the PRRD proposes eight federal regions if ‘least disruptive in transition’ is to be the rule; 1) Cordillera, Ilocos, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon federal region, (2) National capital federal region, (3)Calabarzon and Bicol federal region, (4) Mimaropa and Western Visayas federal region, (5) Eastern and Central Visayas federal region, (6) Northern Mindanao and Caraga Federal region, (7) Bangsa Moro federal region and (8) Socksargen and Davao federal region.
The PRRD added that aside from bloating the bureaucracy, the 18-state format will only bloat the bureaucracy and will make a up weak foundation for a federal republic.
On the distribution of governmental powers, the PRRD proposed 27 powers for the national federal government, 35 powers each for the regional states and 23 powers to be shared by both national and regional governments.
Gavino in summary said the critical questions of the number of regions and the government power delineation could spell the difference between success or failure.
“How both are addressed would mean a leap to Heaven or a Leap to Disaster or Hell,” he said. (JKL)