We all know about that old time joke where a certain politician promises to build some bridge in a remote locality during one election campa...

Federalism: A Kind of Child Speak.

We all know about that old time joke where a certain politician promises to build some bridge in a remote locality during one election campaign sortie when someone from the crowd bellowed, “But Sir, we have no rivers here!” The politician then said, “No problem. We will build the river first.” Ha...ha…ha…This is one political joke that never fails to muster a good laugh from me, its ridiculousness is so humongous. It is so funny because somehow, the comedy speak some truth on how politics is run in this part of the globe---how rotten it is sometimes, if not most of the times. All promises, and no action.

Now, the recent move to suggest the institution of a federal system of government in our beloved country is not as ridiculous as the joke above but somehow, it is similarly preposterous and could border on the ludicrous. Not that it is an appalling system of governance altogether. In fact countries under this sort of administration are mostly affluent like Germany and Canada, not to mention the United States of America. For all we know, federalism may in fact stifle some disenchantment from some parts of the country like in Mindanao resulting from the supposed improper distribution of wealth and State resources, especially in the distribution of infrastructure developments. We all know that suspected maxim always (that bad and mean formula), where the country gets its revenues from the rich Mindanao heartlands while on the one hand lavishing the northern regions with all these riches. Clearly unfair if I may say. Now federalism could solve this problem. But the question is: “Can we afford it now?”

The institution of a federal system of government here in our lands would entail gigantic cost for it will demand so much of our already scarce State resources. In that system, each “state” or region would have to have its own legislature and Supreme Court and would have to rehash the system of governance so completely to the effect that every major public agency would have to be reformulated and overhauled. This would mean a budgeting nightmare while at the same time so very time-consuming.

Federalism is good idea but it won’t be “a manna from heaven” or a fool-proof formula for economic success and besides it would necessitate a lot of experimentation, which we could not afford at this time. It is so expensive that it won’t be worth trying. If the need for change is really adamant and steeply urgent, we can just bat for a simple parliamentary system like in France or Great Britain. No frills and it come cheaper.


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