Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Power, Federalism and One Incident on a Tee

This can't go un-blogged before the year ends. I'll be expecting a surge in workload come 2009 and my thoughts on the above subject might just swish away. Unless I go home early due to the current political turmoil here.

Going back to that incident in a golf course involving a middle-class family and a notorious political clan in Mindanao, it made me think again the idea of federalising the Philippines. I personally am an advocate of federalism. On paper, it is best suited on a nation where regional and ethnic identity seem to create unofficial boundary within. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel's proposed framework is deemed fitting; for instance, a Luzon with states to Kapampangans, Tagalogs, Ifugaos, Ilocanos and Bicolanos. Moreover, it will bring an end to the Imperial Manila that deeply centralized everything in the country. No more going to the metro just to get paperworks you need in proving your existence. No more LGUs (Local Government Unit: Governor down to Barangay Chairman) that are like dogs waiting for scraps from his master's table.

But then again, decentralising power to states might just make power centralised to the ruling clan in that region. As MLQ3 pointed out, the warlord culture of the provinces is prevalent to this day. Mention a province and one can tell a Family Name attributed to it, nay, ruling it. Moreover, it is proper to quote his opinion on the recent incident:

So we have here a clear clash of civilizations: between the entitlement and warlord culture of the provinces, which compels obedience by force, and which doesn’t hesitate to use that force to compel submission by anyone who isn’t part of the ruling clan’s pecking order of enforcers; and the national capital culture which expects self-control of officialdom, which doesn’t think twice about standing up to official bullying; which, even if beaten to a pulp thinks it’s possible to rally support from like-minded people who actually believe in justice and notions of equality -because there are more decent people than the bad.

So here is where it all collapse; I mean my optimism to a federalised Philippines. I bet there are a lot of this kind of incident in the provinces but of course it wouldn't make it out and make a fuss such as this one. The mayor involved in the incident who imposed a Hindi-mo-ba-ako-kilala? threat reminds me of a feudal relationship between a peasant and his landlord; a picturesque of a future feudal state here where the only difference is that we own the land. Having to create state laws with these warlords on the pen is like having a death sentence written for us. Having to control the flow of taxpayers' money with autonomy given to these thugs is like having to invest in a scam; from GMA to little GMAs (Gremlins anyone?). And giving the power to the states is synonymous to making the gods more than gods.

Would there be anything higher than a god? Only the devil knows.

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