Does Federalism Make Sense For The Philippines?

Photo source senate.gov.ph via philstar.com


By Richard Heydarian/forbes.com – Next on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s agenda is changing the country’s form of government under a new constitution. The move has provoked a backlash among certain sections of society, ranging from the business sector to the church and media, which have questioned the rationale for constitutional change. A recent survey by Pulse Asia found that 67% of Filipinos oppose the change, while only 18 percent were in favour and the other 14 percent were undecided.

Critics contend that the move is part of a plot to extend the president’s term in office. In response, Duterte has sought to reassure the public that he will not extend his term beyond his constitutionally mandated six years, which is due to end in mid-2022.

Leaving aside the conspiracy theories, a federal form of government, if enacted, will likely prove a bane rather than a boon for the country. Federalism may end up only reinforcing socio-economic and ethno-political fault lines in an already divided archipelagic nation.

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