FRANKLY speaking, I am for federalism because I see it as the way to the regions’ liberation as virtual colonies of imperial Manila. Moreover, should President Rodrigo Duterte fail to shift to federalism the probinsiya (as the regions are snobbishly referred to) might have lost its last chance for peaceful deliverance from colonial bondage.
The regions are virtual colonies because they relate to imperial Manila exactly as colonies in the past related to their foreign colonial masters. Colonies exist to serve the interests of the colonizing power, foreign or local. Here’s how…
Prime commodities are more expensive in the probinsiya where most of them are produced because these are first shipped to Manila and only the surplus brought back to the probinsiya with the transportation, wastage and middleman costs added to the selling price.
Imperial Manila also decides how much investment in infrastructure the probinsiya gets. And it has always been self-serving in allocating to itself a hugely disproportionate share of the country’s financial resources. It has until now failed to provide Filipinos in the probinsiya with electricity, clean drinking water and irrigation for their farms. Yet it has never failed to give Metromanila more superhighways, LRT’s/MRT’s, flood control systems, ports/airports, etc.
That’s for quantifiable assets. For the non-quantifiable like culture, I have always smarted against Pilipino (which is really Tagalog) being the only official language when in fact more Filipinos speak Visayan dialects the most prominent of which is Cebuano.
Topnotch educational institutions are to be found mostly in Manila. The same is true with museums and cultural events at the expense of the rich cultural heritage and artistic talent that can be found in the province.
Even Manila-based media is imperialist. Big media events are always done in Manila. If and when these go local, they are organized from the top by Manila-based media personalities. In discussing national issues they interview only Manila-based political, economic and cultural analysts as if the opinion of probinsyanos is not worth a second of prime time.
This essentially colonial structure is at the root of our lopsided development where a small but rich and powerful center, Manila, is served, fed and kowtowed to by a large, poor and powerless periphery, the probinsya.
Hence, I welcome federalism from either a Constitutional Convention or Constitutional Assembly provided it has the imprimatur of President Duterte. Muslim Mindanao might be the least autonomous and the most marginalized colony but the fact is all the other regions are virtual colonies of imperial Manila and...
Federalism appears to be their only hope of deliverance.