Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo is not in favor of the proposed shift to federal government, saying that it poses more danger than remedy to the country.
Robredo on Thursday noted that the Duterte administration’s proposed shift to federalism has not been clear in its objectives.
“If federalism is the answer, what is the question? What do we want to achieve by it? Is it devolution? Is it progress for Mindanao? Is it inclusive growth and reduction of poverty? There is no question that we need all three for sustainable and inclusive progress. But the tougher and more sensible questions are these: Is federalism the only way the Philippines can save itself?” she said.
The Vice President argued that a successful federal government depends on certain factors, among them, local government units (LGUs) having the capacity and competence to handle so much authority and systems of patronage not dominating politics at the local level.
“Practical experience tells us that we enjoy neither. Many of our LGUs are poorly positioned for greater responsibility. And patronage politics continues to hold sway, influencing the outcomes of elections, making public office the business of dynasties,” Robredo pointed out.
The Duterte administration is envisioning a Philippines with 11 independent states capable of managing their respective resources and crafting tax laws.
“”Our fear is that federalism might be too drastic a remedy for this particular problem. If we look at the dependence or independence, economic dependence or independence of our provinces, I think of our regions, only two have internally generated incomes,” Robredo said.
While President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for a French model, the Vice President said this model is not strictly under a federal set-up.
“We’re not closing our doors, but we’re just saying that there is anxiety on what is being proposed. The system of government now, while we feel is not working in the way that we want it to work. It is still, as of now, the best option that we have,” she added.