Archive for September, 2008

A kind of federalism, as an alternative to federalism

September 29, 2008

What’s in a name? If this were the case I’d also go for federalism: shared powers between central government and its constituent political subdivisions. Only, I won’t call it federalism. Also, I won’t refer to the political subdivisions as states. Instead I’d call them as they are: provinces and chartered cities. It may not be constitutionally mandated, but it is allowed. Sharing powers with lgu’s rather than states is not just about working within the parameters of the 1987 Constitution. It has its intrinsic merits. It is doable now or anytime, it is less expensive and disruptive, and it can go for the fruits promised by federalism while deflecting the dangers poised upon our poor country be federalists. Senator Nene Pimentel says that his federalism will cause the speedy development of the entire country by unleashing the forces of competitiveness among the States. Nothing is farther from the truth. The real competition is between and among cities and municipalities, not even among provinces. Most businesses are either city or town based. It is there where businesses get their permits. States cannot and should not alter this arrangement. Val Abelgas disputes the Senator’s claim in his article entitled The Folly of Federalism, thusly: “It will create additional layers of bureaucracy that will lead to even more red tape, corruption and confusion. Businessmen and investors will be the most adversely affected as they will have to contend with conflicting and confusing laws from various states/regions. Can you imagine 11 states with their own agencies on commerce and industry, housing, health, transportation, education, etc. and the federal government having its own, too, all with their own sets of rules?” Another claim by Senator Pimentel is that his federalism will dissipate the causes of rebellion in the country, Mindanao in particular. The opposite is true. His kind of federalism will enhance the causes of rebellion in the country: poverty through failed governance. The shift towards federalism is so expensive and disruptive that it will aggravate the sufferings of our people leading to further destabilization. It will eat up resources that otherwise could be used for poverty alleviation. In an article entitled Financing Federalism Leonor Magtolis-Briones wrote: “Students of public finance have been pointing out that the creation of an additional layer of government—namely the state—will inevitably lead to higher levels of expenditures. This is because the machinery of the states has to be maintained, along with that of the federal government and the local government units. Pressure for higher levels of expenditures will inevitably lead to pressure for increased levels of taxes.” This concern does not even mention the added cost of maintaining 75 Senators and 350 Congressmen. Senator Nene Pimentel probably thinks that we are overjoyed with the antics of our do nothing Senators and Congressmen that he wants to create and create more and more of them! It not just federal financing that will aggravate the causes of rebellion. Mere creation of states also will. It will create diversity and conflict where there is none. I believe in unity in diversity. But creating a union to create diversity is another thing. This is what happens when provinces are formed into a state. To be able to understand this point better, please take a look at the proposed State of Northern Luzon. It shall comprise the provinces of llocos Norte, llocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Until provided otherwise by the State Legislature, Tuguegarao City shall be the capital of the State. Even the seemingly homogeneous Bicol region would experience one form of inter-provincial conflict or another. Wait ‘til they start defining the rules. Wait ‘til Masbate and Catanduanes start fighting it out for the state’s attention! But nothing so bad will happen in Luzon and in the Visayas compared to what Mindanao would experience if it tries to organize and operate a Muslim state. I don’t know why anyone would promote the organization of a state based on religion, more so if it is done at gunpoint. I would not want theocracy for even the worst of my enemies. I would not will it for Muslims or Christians. I shudder at the specter of another MOA-AD, a version far more bloody than one can ever imagine. The Muslim problem sprung from years of government apathy and neglect. It is a condition shared by Christian settlers as well. It is neither political nor religious. It is economic, stupid! Senator Nene Pimentel succeeded in getting the support of ULAP and other local government organizations by using a bait called 20/80. They can see the figures, but not the hook! History will be repeating itself once more as when Congress devolved the functions of agriculture, social welfare and health services. It conveniently forgot to provide the necessary funds.  The curses of the aggrieved devolved personnel are still on the lead man, Senator Nene Pimentel. Now he wants to strike LGU’s a more lethal blow. Actually very little of the 80% state share would reach the LGU’s because its 30% share will likely be not be enough for its own maintenance and other operating expenditures. The result will be more confusion, wrangling and hardships. Federalists brag that opposition to federalism springs from ignorance. The contrary is true. Many people support federalism because of ignorance. They will reject federalism if they know what it is. One supporter thought that there will be a state for Ilocanos, Cebuanos, Bicolanos, etc. Alas it is not to be so. A blogger who posted at MLQ3 blog wrapped in a flag as justice league has this to say: “… just in case you want to pursue a federalist cause without the ability of defending it; you have my permission to use the battle cry below in its totality!” “Gusto nilang gawin! Kaya nilang gawin! Pero hindi nila ginagawa! KAYA ANG TANGING SOLUSYON AY PALITAN ANG SALIGANG BATAS!”


RX to SONA 2008

September 1, 2008

Wrapped in lies, the Empress was naked

Palace couturiers dressed the Empress in lies hoping that her subjects would not be able to see through it all. Just for good measure palace courtiers surrounded her with sycophants along with their own bodies as a shield against probing eyes. They made sure that disgruntled  subject could not come near enough by putting up formidable human and material barricades.
Only then did the parade go on, with the Empress thinking all along that she was dressed in a special royal raiment. She held her head high, confident and smiling proudly,
She was deafened by the loud clapping of hands and cheers from a captive throng. She did not see nor hear the unbelieving eyes and gasps of her shocked subject at the sight of their naked Empress.
The lie that the Empress wore was a claim that there was an economic growth, and that it was on its way up until it was derailed by a global crisis. And that the the subjects were shielded from its impact. The truth is that  there was never a growth in the economy, except among those who are within her immediate circle. Productivity was down because of graft and corruption. Hunger and unemployment was widespread and confidence  and trust in her was already at its lowest. There was nothing to shield the people from the impact of the global crisis.
Her invisible clothes was interlaced with deception. She has nothing to do with the bravery of the young boy who was saving lives amidst a disaster which she chose to leave behind for a junket along with her loyal lapdogs. It turned out that the reduced rate on texting was merely for show. To be sure she can point out to a few good things which are supposed to be ordinary accomplishments. Yet she makes much of such rare occurencies by making it appear to be the rule, rather than the exception.
Topography and typhoons are lame excuses for low productivity. The main culprit is still her policy of being liberal with foreign farmers, and being stingy with local ones. Rice importation rather than farm subsidies! In the hands of a skillful and habitual liar, statistics hide the truth rather than reveal it!
She clings to EVAT for dear life though it comes from blood, sweat and tears of the poor. Isn’t she now saying that without the bonanza from EVAT on electricity, oil and medicine her government would cease to function? Where do the collection from traditional source of government funds go? The Empress dispenses katas ng EVAT as though it were her own: no legitimization from Congress, no transparency, no accountability. Given her negative trust rating, who knows where the katas ng EVAT will go?
Her contrived expresssions of empathy for the poor and the hard-pressed teachers ring hollow in the face of reality. If those concerns were real, the economy and education would not be in such a mess! Yet what bothers us most are not the lies and deception that was her hallmark. We are more fearful of veiled messages to her lieutenants: a cha-cha might be necessary and that she will stop at nothing to thwart detractors.
When an Empress can march through the streets naked, what is there that she wouldn’t be capable of doing?

On Tue, 8/12/08, Dennis B. Dayao <> wrote:

From: Dennis B. Dayao <>
Subject: Faxed message for Abp. Oscar Cruz
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 12:30 AM


Greeting in the GOOD LORD!

While you do not know me (I am Archbishop Oscar Cruz) and while I neither have any e-mail (just asked someone who has, to send you these lines), do allow me to say the following:

With much admiration for you courage and delight for your insight, I read your letter to the PDI Editor (8 August 2008, p. A16, with the bold heading “WRAPPED IN LIES, THE EMPRESS WAS NAKED”.

Great piece! Brave article! Bravo to EJ!

—————– end of fax from Abp. Cruz –

— On Thu, 8/7/08, Juan Sayo <> wrote:

From: Juan Sayo <>
Subject: Your letter in PDI issue 8 Aug
Date: Thursday, August 7, 2008, 11:17 PM

Dear Mr. Joven,
I read your letter "Wrapped in Lies, the Empress was Naked" and I said to
 myself, here is a man that proves all is not yet lost for the Filipinos.
I am 77 years old, I have been through WW II, and through the corruptions of
our many leaders and I have

almost given up hope for our people and country. In
my maddest moments, and there are many, I have asked God to destroy them all!!
But my prayers remain undone. They become even more many and successful in
their corruptions.

You may now only be a glimering candle light in the darkness that envelops our
land. I hope you become a brightt white beacon.

May God help you.

J. Sayo