Centrist Democracy Political Institute - Items filtered by date: December 2016



THIS recent audience with the President is discussed in a three-part series in this column that started on December 15 and continuing on for the two succeeding Thursdays. This last encounter, the evening of December 5, was considerably different from the ones in the past. PRRD was more subdued and perhaps more reflective. I would venture to describe the engagement almost with panache on his part even with a modicum of elegance, except for a few expletives interspersed here and there that perhaps added emphasis and color to the conversation.

Published in LML Polettiques


Part 1

Part 2

THAT evening of December 5 when I had this conversation with the PRRD, he looked haggard and exhausted. He explained that he had to leave the Cabinet meeting twice that day, first to light up the Christmas tree at the Malacañang grounds and the second to meet with a special group of Chinese mainland visitors earlier, headed by Mr. Huang Rulun who gave P1.4 billion for the rehabilitation of the illegal drug surrenderees. Mr. Rulun had started his business here in Binondo Chinatown way back in 1986 and claims to have an emotional attachment to the Philippines. The President praised this philanthropist for his gesture and appreciated the fact that he asked nothing in return.

Published in LML Polettiques
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 12:39

Planting the seeds of federalism in Cebu

That the idea of Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte to make that monumental shift from our current 71-year-old unitary form of government that only brought the Filipino nation years of misery with the majority of our people living in abject poverty, one solution is for that paradigm shift towards a parliamentary/federal form of governance...something that most well-developed nations have adopted and achieved economic prosperity.
Published in Commentaries

PAUL Hutchcroft, a scholar specializing in comparative and Southeast Asian politics, asked whether rather than symmetrical federalism across the country, the focus should instead be on asymmetrical arrangements that address injustices that hinder specific communities from achieving their full potentials.

While federalism is already part of ongoing discussions in the Philippine public arena, nevertheless, George R. M Anderson, formerly of the Forum of Federations Canada, believed that how the conversations would be framed is strategic.

Federalism is very diverse and Filipinos need not be hung up on one model. Admittedly, the slack in the discussion today is partly because government has not yet put forward the model for deliberation by Filipinos.

Since it will be up to us to decide, we can exercise more latitude by defining what problems the Filipino brand of federalism should address.

Amina Rasul of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy raised the query "if federalism is the answer, what is the question?" This was echoed by Hutchcroft who also asked about the basic problems needing to be solved.

Constitution expert lawyer Christian Monsod argued that the country’s key problems can be addressed without federalism. Monsod said that the underperformance in vital asset reforms (agrarian reform, urban land reform and housing, ancestral domains, and fisheries reform) are mainly due to factors that do not require fundamental reorientation of the political system.

Patronage politics, oligarchic rule, and regional inequities have also been discussed in many fora as among the political ills of our country, and used as arguments for federalism. Echoing one of the resource persons, ought not other measures that also effectively address the problems need to be explored further first before committing the country to system overhaul of the kind exemplified by federalism?

Conditions of success was also a running theme in the GAGF 2016.

Anderson contributed two social conditions: respect for rule of law, and a sense of nested identities (e.g. people are comfortable with having a regional or ethnic identity, and also a national one). The successful transition to federalism also required the build-up of capacity, particularly administrative, political and fiscal.

Lito Lorenzana of the Centrist Democratic Party Philippines had four preconditions: 1) political party reforms including the banning of turncoatism; 2) passage of an anti-dynasty law, 3) and a freedom of information law; 4) and electoral reforms. All four, which in his vie would be achieved under the Duterte administration, have to be pursued simultaneously.

The experiences of countries that tried different devolved and decentralized arrangements suggested the possibility of a staged approach rather than a sudden shift in political institutions, with the rate of transfer varying depending on conditions.

One of the resource persons asserted that obtaining peoples’ consent is vital. Instead of a rushed move towards a Philippine Constitutional Assembly, more initiatives have to be made towards securing Filipino agreement. Consent in this case needs to be freely given without coercion or deceit, prior to any undertakings, and on the basis of informed decision-making about problems that Filipinos deem need to be addressed.

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Read more: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/opinion/2016/12/16/maglana-takeaways-autonomy-governance-and-federalism-last-2-parts-515541

Published in Commentaries


LAST Monday December 5, I had the privilege of meeting with President Duterte in Malacañang at 10 p.m., a “not so ungodly hour” considering that the last time I had this privilege was at 2:30a.m. in Davao’s Malacañang of the South. But this time, the President had directed his presidential kitchen to provide a simple dinner at around 9:00 p.m. – very timely indeed as hunger pangs overtook me as I had to rush to Malacañang from the airport at 7 p.m. for this appointment.

Published in LML Polettiques


QUEZON CITY, Dec. 13 - Following the publication of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10754, also known as An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons With Disability (PWDs), on December 8 in two major national newspapers and its submission to the Office of the National Administrative Register, PWDs can start enjoying the expanded benefits and privileges that they are entitled to under the law on December 23, two days before Christmas.

Published in News
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:26

We are a narco-state

WHEN your chief of the national police breaks down publicly uttering, “who can I trust?”, the enormity of the situation stares at you hard. When the president of the country cries foul and cusses left and right and wonders why we are in this state, we stare into space and ask, what has become of my country? When politicians fight, and propagate schemes to suit a desired outcome despite the state of things, we wonder, is being a narco-state just a happenstance for you? That it is not real? Are you high or on the take? Please pray tell us. For trust is earned and we can abandon you, if need be.
Published in Commentaries


THERE is no political discourse without emotions being involved. There is no political decision without opposition. And there is no political perspective that will not be challenged by one’s opponents. What seems to be universally accepted in politics all over the world turns out to be even truer right now in the Philippines. Having observed the political landscape after the May 2016 elections closely, I see how our political discourses and cleavages have become more emotional, more aggressive, more unforgiving. Or, if you want to use fewer words: Our political culture has been poisoned.

Published in Commentaries

(Delivered at the Kusog Mindanaw Conference 2016 on 29 November 2016 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel by Lito Lorenzana, Centrist Democratic Party)

Federalism is a subject matter that has occupied its Philippine advocates over the last three or four decades but has only gained traction through the candidate Duterte. A lot of us are somewhat familiar with the concept, but allow me to examine Federalism thru the prism of the people of the South – particularly people from Mindanao – where the concept is much more understood.

Published in Commentaries


The Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines brought together experts and partners in the shared effort of paving the way to Federalism through a conference and dialogue last 25 November 2016 at St. Giles Hotel, Makati City.

Published in Recent Activities
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