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Pro- and Anti-

Pro-Impeachment anti-war protester 2007 suffixed with Marcos, Aquino, Duterte, America, China. They bug me. They also bug some Filipinos who say: we should all be pro-Filipino and pro-Philippines instead. That is better, but what does that exactly mean? Who is included and excluded, and what is the Philippines in the first place? I think every Filipino and every hyphenated Filipino will have another answer. Every island and every language group will have another answer. Rich, poor, middle class, OFWs and migrants will answer differently. STOP!

That is why there is democracy with a constitution. So that people can find a common solution for the greatest majority without tyrannizing minorities. That it is never ideal for everybody is given. Dictatorships and monarchies are usually great for those on the side of the dictator, or the nobles who are with the monarch. So for whose good should democracy look out for? Let me see:

  • I think it should be pro-poor and anti-poverty. Make sure children do not starve as this is bad for their IQ, and later opportunities. Make sure they get proper education, and jobs afterwards.
  • I think it should be pro-enterpreneur and anti-profiteer. Enterpreneurs create opportunities, profiteers exploit both land and people. Tax profiteers (miners etc.) heavily to fund anti-poverty.
  • I think it should be pro-rights and anti-crime. This is for the middle class. Not a contradiction. People want to be safe from criminals. People want to be safe from possible abuses of power.

This is the pro- and anti- that makes sense to me. How do a country, a federal state or region, a municipality or a barangay implement this? By distributing responsibilities and forging rules.

Prof. Tony La Viña wrote on Facebook that the Philippine President has powers like a Spanish or American colonial governor. Cut down in the 1987 Constitution, that I know. But he has both the power of budget and the power of the guns – Army and Police. The budget power has also been a source of trouble, like during the 2013 pork barrel scandal – but it seems that pork is returning.

My German perspective

Certain taxes in Germany go to the federal level, some to the state – and finally to municipal level. Business taxes or Gewerbesteuer are purely municipal and reward cities that attract business. Business taxes are a certain percentage based on corporate/income tax and the so-called Hebesatz – a coefficient every city can determine by itself. Thus businesses in Munich City pay higher taxes as a premium for being there, while those in Munich County pay less as an incentive for example. Queing in Berlin to get money for municipal projects – is NOT the norm for the USUAL projects.

State level takes care of education. To guarantee a certain interoperability, ministries of education coordinate. But there are states with K-12, states with K-13, and states with both. Some parents asked for K-12 to be removed when it was instituted in some states – because they thought it would CHEAPEN their children’s standard of education. But states BUILD and FUND schools.

Police is state-level. Just at the right level to have enough scale but not become a potential monster. FEDERAL Police “only” protects borders, coasts, airports, train stations and federal offices.

and the Philippines

I see on the FB page of PMATA Inc. which supervises BUB projects in Albay that projects where funds were approved in 2014 are only being started now – like simple barangay halls! Say what?

Now I know there is the internal revenue allotment for local government units (IRA for LGUs). And there is (or was?) Robredo’s LGPMS to tie LGUs to performance metrics. Still too centralistic. Why not make sure some of the money earned IN a city stays there – including the SM City which earns money there. The rest is for regional and national things. And for helping poorer areas.

The more local units get a certain fiscal autonomy – of course with necessary things coming from higher up – the more citizens can actually use Freedom of Information in a truly sensible manner. They are there and can see the projects being built – or not being built – with their own money. Now it seems more like “which President will help our region more”. Marcos helped his own Ilocos. Surely Duterte will help his Mindanao. Filipinos think of their slice of cake – not only congressmen. Habits born of long oppression and poverty. Why not bake more cakes? But how to get there?

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 10. September 2016

2 comments to Pro- and Anti-

  • karlgarcia

    From your past posts(articles and comments), you have covered self-interest as opposed to national interest, Group interest, where you care only for those that agree with you,etc.

    Now we talk about pro and anti which is related to all that I posted above.
    What is needed is discerning of the pros and cons,no matter if you are pro or anti. That is the most ideal thing,I think.

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