NORMALLY, the State of the Nation Address (Sona) reports the President's accomplishments on the first 100 days in office. The unfinished plans are stated and explained to the citizens.
I chose three vital issues of national interest.
The first is the planned change in governance from a Republic with a presidential form of government to Federalism. Federalism is a system of governance in which the whole country, the Philippines, is controlled by two levels of government. Generally, an overarching national government is responsible for the federal governance, governing the issues that affect the entire country. The smaller units or sub divisions as provinces, cities or districts are governing the issues of the local government. Both of the functions have a certain level of autonomy from each other.
The two sectors have to limit the rights to declare laws, taxes, according to the needs of each sector to support themselves. All local units are free to declare laws applicable only to their districts. This system of governance had been recommended by some past regimes but it did not flourish.
An overview of the whole set up is easier in a continental setting to set boundaries; Philippines is an archipelago consisting of more than 7,000 islands. The present regime should plan the boundaries for each local unit of governance. The president said he plans to finalize first the BBL (the Bangsamoro Basic Law) in congress to clearly define the divisions in Mindanao Island. We have two more sets of islands, the Visayas, and Luzon. All of these have to get their designations under Federalism governance.
Mindanao is the melting pot of several groups, the Muslims which is also called Moros, the Christians, the IP (indigenous people), the militant groups - the MILF, MNLF, the NPA. The Moros are known to have resisted any foreign invasions since the beginning. There had been no true peace because of these warring sectors.
The third major issue is the Endo - the Filipino slang for "end of contract." At present, it is mandated by law that after six months of working as a contractual employee, the company can automatically terminate the worker. The scheme 555 means the worker works for 5 months, then terminated and may return after 5 months. This is done with the SM sales girls. I do not know now.
There are more issues to be resolved in connection with the president's manner of ruling where he defies the constitution as long as he thinks he is doing what is good for his countrymen. He said in connection with the Maute siege, take no prisoners, kill all of them. We, citizens can play our role to maintain peace without resorting to an environment of killings and violence. We hope the remaining years of the president's regime will be better when his plan for Federalism works well.
For comments text cp. no. 09202112534.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 18, 2017.
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