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Policy Workshop on Federalism

Posted: 2019-10-09
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Concept Note and Programme

Since the Philippine president announced his plan to change the country’s unitary system to federal, many fora had been conducted to discuss its merits and demerits. Majority of them focused on the lapses of the present political structure which perpetuates “Imperial Manila” to the detriment of the peripheral areas especially those in Visayas and Mindanao. The political structural change is seen as a means to “equalize” the benefits of economic development to the whole archipelago, not just in the National Capital Region and in Luzon, and to finally settle the peace and order problem in Mindanao. There is an underlying assumption from the proponents that the change in the form of government is the answer to the inequality or inequity of growth in the country.

There are several questions that are still to be answered adequately in the debates about federalism. First, what is the true cause of inequality and inequity in the country such that some regions or provinces are more prosperous than others? Second, what is the root cause of rebellion and secessionism in the country? Is the government not able to respond to them adequately and effectively under the present Constitution and presidential system? And finally, is federalism the answer or panacea to these problems? How will it solve them?

The University of the Philippine National College of Public Administration and Governance, the U.P. Center for Policy and Executive Development, and the Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness, in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, conducted a Policy Workshop on Federalism to try to answer these questions. With inputs from representatives from the private sector and local government units, this workshop attempted to contribute to the federalism debate by seeking inputs from some of those who will be affected by it.


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