By Hellen Marie Joy Rubillos (SMA)

The empirical note of everything is that fractions of nature, philosophies and behaviour harmoniously come together, piece by piece, to achieve a prospering whole. This whim poses as a conceptual framework supporting the positive impressions of Federalism. The Republic of the Philippines is no stranger to this impactful way of unleashing authority. Reimplementation of this system of governance has proven to be a steaming topic of debate and colloquy. Kaleidoscope of arguments become cogitated as one begins to weigh down the efficacy and puissance that holds within.

Federalism, in some countries namely Canada, United States, Australia and Germany, has substantiated itself as a form of government to which a sod would highly benefit. So why would the Philippines, especially in the sector of Mindanao, not be able to flourish? A change of government system equates to a change in the presently implemented laws and order of things. However, if the subsequent alterations come about and ensures a country’s security, economic growth, and peace, the nit-picking can be overlooked and everyone will eventually benefit from it with no regrets.

President Rodrigo Duterte reflects an idealistic image as a person with strong political views on the aspects of Federalism within Mindanao. He, as well as some federalists, believe that this could be an efficacious solution to guarantee peace within the sector. Mindanao is known to be dotted with terrorists here and there. But the bottom line out of this is that terrorism should be the second top priority since a bigger dilemma is pushing forward. Instead of scavenging for answers on how to eradicate terrorism, digging through the accounts on why terrorism even exists should be of top priority. Out of all vindications, the proper point to ponder is “Poverty” itself. As human nature has evolved, people have had their chances to brainstorm ideas uprooted from this irreversible predicament. Human instinct acts our on fear every time there is an immense shortage of basic human needs and in fear comes with the sense of having to absolutely survive in this world. Up until the best have already been defeated, Filipinos reach out to the local government to be provided with the basic necessities. The harsh truth underlying any sense of government is that there is no absolute, perfect and flawless way of running a country. Although discouraging, the paramount efforts made by politicians cannot go unseen for they did not neglect any anomaly that the country is facing rather they conceptualize solutions in order to bring justice. It is true that obstruction of justice is uprooted in the sense that people defend for what they think is right and what they think should be good for their country and in Mindanao evidence of the same aggression for persistence can be proven with little to no sweat.

Federalism is democracy viewed in a variant manner. An extension to branches of progression can be attained through central and local governments. The perilous implication when Federalism and the Philippine government is put into a single context is that no matter what the style of handling a country may be, if the leaders fail in filling out their blank promises during the election period then there will be little to no signs of advancement. The whole body of the Republic of the Philippines will be put into shame. Poverty leads to terrorism and terrorism leads to the ultimate downfall of a certain area no less a whole country. As aforementioned, Mindanao has been branded as a hub for terrorists. The exercise of autonomy seems to be a favourable concept fit for the Muslims who want a subsequent amount of independence from their own mother land and they hurtfully do not agree with how the Philippine government is handling its own country.

Fuelling the consistent quagmires of the Local Government Units (LGUs) is the inefficiency to uphold an equitable behaviour for sharing among all the regions of the Philippines. Mindanao, in its truest dismay, shelters 11 out of 20 provinces nationally and statistically imprinted as the poorest of the poor within the monetary scale during the first semester of 2015. With sad news being like that being overlooked by this present system, how Filipinos could find solace and peace of mind while trusting the leaders of today. Mindanao poses as a blank canvas for inculcating alternative ways to improve our flawed government system but most concerned Mindanaoans, especially those who do not trust easily, do not believe that Federalism could be the main pint of paint to bring color to a foreseen piece de resistance. A lot of hindrances block the way of the implementation of Federalism. The aforementioned peninsula has been habituated by mostly Muslims and people thing that this federal style of government could dissipate peace rather than elevate it. They believe that within the Mindanao scope, division will slowly rise and the concept of helping each other and equal division of benefits will be buried deep underground by greed of money, power and fame. Federalism would be an impeccable way to boost up a certain sector’s economy as 80% percent of their earnings can be circulated within the sector whilst only 20% will be contributed up to the central government. This ensures that what everyone works hard to do so, everyone benefits from it. Even though some sectors start out poor like most of Mindanao, it would not be of any problem anymore as there will be implemented rules within the peninsula only that would arise for the benefit of all. Duterte has not yet pushed forward imminent signs of federalism but he said that probably most of the LGUs could keep track and circulate their own income. Another hindrance to federalism is that when this concept is tied with political dynasty, it casually equates to doom as others would say.

Research shows that the majority of those who are pro-federalism are from Mindanao. Possibly under the account of Duterte’s homeland. According to one of Pulse Asia’s surveys, 51% of Mindanao respondents expressed their approval for the shift to federalism. But even though more than half of the region’s respondents were pro to federalism, only 28% of the national scope of respondents only agree to the shift. This dilemma is mainly caused by the plummet of percentage among Filipinos that more or less understand or are knowledgeable about the concept and framework of federalism. Statistics prove that among Filipino respondents, 71% of them have little to no knowledge about the aforementioned government system. Before President Duterte captured the passionate hearts of the Filipinos, he promised a change into the federal form of government. But the real struggle was with it came the factual judgement that it is not as easy as changing the country’s system of government just like how you would change outfits. Federalism in the Philippines is being fed by criticisms barging into the peace of running a prospering country with flaws. Yes it is true that federalization walks on a wire and plays with the beam of tricks and illusions but it is up to the people to choose wisely for a leader with respect for the country, the people and most importantly himself too. This is what it truly means to choose wisely on a leader whom we can be assured that the abuse of power will be discarded from his vocabulary. A leader who believes in the ultimate dissipation of the incorrect usage of extended power and resources over a region. Someone who is capable of attaining unity under a certain central government whilst maintaining peace and a healthy autonomy between themselves.

One idealism executed in the face of federalism is equity over equality. It is certain that the different parts of the Philippines claims an inconsistent amount of habitants per city, region and province. With the style of federalism, the regions especially Mindanao can finally and equally share the benefits and the income that has been solely generated by the people from Mindanao themselves. They are able to provide for their needs without the shortage. They can also implement their laws by state and taxation could possibly be under how the region would agree to be under the local government then suggested for approval under the supreme president.

Federalism should be guided by a certain discipline where the Filipinos are able to construct a peaceful and unified relationship amongst people of different beliefs, religions, indigence, and social status. Comical as it may sound but the truth is that standards have to be distinguished and met in order for Mindanao to flourish and become a part of a united whole. A strong federal framework should guide the country if it wants to cater and provide Filipinos with passion and patriotism. This can also help with the economic growth of the country and sectorial businesses could be challenged to produce innovations and ignite their drive for stacking up pesos. Federalism could also reverse the plummeting of the rate of the Philippine peso which is sadly on one of its all time lows. The impact on the cultural development that the federalization of the Philippine government could manifest a big difference in the identity of Mindanaoans. Since some Muslim areas, especially those included within the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, dream to redeem autonomy, they bring forward the widespread of peace and harmony with the rest of the habitants in Mindanao. Culture, with utmost certainty, will be showcased with full confidence and tourism will boom one the hidden gems of Mindanao will be released to the world. The south will be flocked with tourist spots that will be foreign to the foreigners themselves and the economic growth of the region will skyrocket and the proceeds will directly be benefitted by those under the local government unit.

The indigent will benefit from this as Federalism will be able to finally create full focus and full support for them to be educated and keep up with the now all while retaining their own flavours of cultural diversity witch becomes a crucial role in the barcode of identities that the Philippine culture grasps with much fervour. The Philippines is dotted with different tribal identities and cultural diversities that it becomes all too good to be true. The beliefs, rituals and every aspect that portrays in becoming a cultural whole for the Philippines is almost neglected as society heavily recognizes more on what is internationally trending and what foreigners come up with their mind and becomes trending. It is of great abhorrence and disrespect to our forefathers, the people who fought for our countries independence, if we keep looking forward into the larger scale of things while disregarding our own cultures and beauties. What more could we offer to our generation when we, with all uncertainty, be darted questions about our history and cultures. Our cultures are our own country’s identity. There is beauty in all the different ethnicities that the Philippines have to offer. Filipinos should be patriots and luckily one of the perks of having a federalized government is the cultural empowerment. What a blissful and colourful the Philippines would be with pure love.

The bottom line out of any of this is the federalism or any kind of government, as long as it looks out for the betterment of the welfare of the people, is a healthy system of governance that would always prevail and be superior for the country. Nevertheless, as it is aforementioned, there is no such thing as a flawless government. There will always be hindrances during the ironic battle for peace, unity and sustenance. Federalism should be thought very circumspectly. As it is no simple system of ruling a country. It is the ultimate vesting of power unto a single person and implementation of the division of peninsulas upon peninsulas in order to effectively and equitably distribute and turn monetary, economic, religious, and cultural benefits within the peninsula to ensure peace of mind, heart, government and peace within oneself and between others.