Philippine federalism is a hot topic now. President Duterte, with his supporters, spares no effort to build more alliances. An effort stirring each Filipino’s interest on whether the regime will shift to federalism. How about you, are you aware of its effects, not only on politics but also on your work? If not, you’ve come to the right place. Let this article from FilWeb Asia Inc. give you a glimpse of what awaits you once the federal system takes place.
What is Philippine Federalism?
Similar to any federal government, should the Philippines adapt this new ruling, we will have a central state and 18 local states. The central state is the national governing authority led by the president and the vice president. While, the states made up of the current 16 regions and two new ones, named Bangsamoro and Cordillera, will have their respective House of Representatives and legal courts.
How would the two differ? The central government has the sole power to print money, declare war, maintain the army, build foreign relations, develop foreign trade, and establish a postal system. The local states would have the power to manage tax, control businesses, set up courts, and improve transport. At some point, they would share the powers in handling the country’s resources. When it happens, the Philippines will join the ranks of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Malaysia in terms of form of government.
What are the reasons you should care for this change, you ask? Supporters of the shift want to take away the control to ‘Imperial Manila’, so other regions can keep more of their income to themselves. Further, it empowers states to make their own decisions. Philippine federalism backers also claim that when charter change happens, peace in Mindanao would occur.
If it doesn’t sound so bad, why is there a debate if it aims everyone to progress? It‘s because a coin has two sides. You must know the pros and cons of Philippine federalism, so you can understand how it will affect you.
Philippine Federalism Potentials
Are you aware of the 60-40 division of taxes? The 60% goes to the national government and the 40% to local government units (LGUs). A 2015 list from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) noted that 11 out of the 20 poorest provinces are in Mindanao. Yet, the 2016 national budget showed Metro Manila alone received a 14.27% share of the national budget. This difference is what Philippine federalism hopes to stop.
Do you agree it’s time for change? To give you ideas how Philippine federalism would benefit you as an employee, we have listed a few perks that might convince you.
1. More jobs for you
Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel said that once Philippine federalism takes place, this would happen. Since the aim of the federal system is to take away the sole power from Metro Manila, other regions would create job openings since investors may flock there.
2. You could pick where you work
The local states could focus on an industry based on their ability. For example, Central Luzon may turn into a farming hub, then MIMAROPA into an ecotourism field. Do you prefer to work in either field? Once the Philippines shifts to federalism, you may choose from among the states where you could develop your skills.
3. Your needs supplied
Once federalism in the Philippines happens, the local states would bring its citizens closer to the government. Social issues such as public safety, education, health care, transportation, recreation and culture, businesses, finances, and laws will be tailored based on the needs of its residents. Thus, you don’t need to wait long.
Are you thrilled about Philippine federalism? Hold that thought. You must consider these issues, too.
1. Not all local states can help you
Or even help their own. Reports say if federalism in the Philippines happens, only the National Capital Region, Central Visayas, and Luzon would stand on their own. What will happen if you don’t live there? Even if every area has its own urban cities, it would not be enough to support the economy of a local state.
2. Your wage will be lower
If you were to buy one of two products with the same quality, but one is cheaper, what will you pick? Local states would likely apply this logic to convince investors.
“If we shift to federalism, each region will rush to lower worker’s wages to attract investors,” said IBON Foundation Executive Director, Jose Enrique Africa.
3. You will carry the Philippine federalism cost
Do you know how much building a bridge or a road costs? It costs millions of pesos. Just imagine, if a total change in our political system would change, it would amount to more.
The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) stated that the shift to federalism would cost PHP72B-130B. This huge sum would reflect in our economy, causing damage to our credit rating. Where will the government get this amount? In the taxes you will pay.
4. You might lose your job
If jobs would open in other regions, there can be a chance that other places would lose theirs. If Philippine federalism takes place, the national government would lay off 95% of its employees. The other risk is stopping 70% of President Duterte’s flagship project, “Build, Build, Build.” If you’re a government employee or one involved in its projects, you must prepare for this possibility.
What do the Filipinos say about it?
Based on a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey last March 2018, only one in four Filipinos know what a federal government is. In the same survey, 37% agrees to make the change, 29% disagrees, and 34% is still undecided.
With these pros and cons, on which side are you? Are you ready for the changes in employment as we know it? Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a job, A KPO and BPO company located in Luzon, FilWeb Asia Inc. joins the ranks of reputable businesses. You can also be sure your skills will go global.
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