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Uncluttering a System

Some clutter on a keyboardshould be the main priority of whatever reforms are implemented – Federalism or not. It just takes a short look at House Bills of the Philippine Congress (link) to see they are wasting a lot of time:

  • HB00007 AN ACT INCREASING THE BED CAPACITY OF THE ROXAS DISTRICT HOSPITAL IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF ROXAS, PROVINCE OF ORIENTAL MINDORO, FROM FIFTY TO ONE HUNDRED BEDS, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT 7857
  • HB00015 AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE AND FREEPORT IN THE PROVINCE OF ILOCOS SUR, CREATING FOR THIS PURPOSE THE ILOCOS SUR SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE AND FREEPORT AUTHORITY, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
  • HB00017 AN ACT CREATING TWO ADDITIONAL BRANCHES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN THE PROVINCE OF ILOCOS SUR, ONE FOR THE CITY OF VIGAN AND ANOTHER FOR THE MUNICIPALITY OF STO. DOMINGO, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7472 ENTITLED ‘AN ACT AMENDING SECTION 1 OF THE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7154 ENTITLED ‘AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION FOURTEEN OF BATAS PAMBANSA BILANG 129 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1981’ BY RESTORING THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF CANDON AND CREATING TWO ADDITIONAL REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCHES IN THE PROVINCE OF ILOCOS SUR, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFORE
  • HB00030 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE UPGRADE AND MODERNIZATION OF THE J.R. BORJA CITY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AS AN EXTENSION HOSPITAL OF THE NORTHERN MINDANAO MEDICAL CENTER (NMMC) IN CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, PROVINCE OF MISAMIS ORIENTAL AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
  • HB00031 AN ACT INCREASING THE BED CAPACITY OF THE NORTHERN MINDANAO MEDICAL CENTER IN CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7938, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
  • HB00032 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CITY PUBLIC COLLEGE IN CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY TO BE KNOWN AS THE CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY PUBLIC COLLEGE AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

ENOUGH, ENOUGH!! Aside from the fact that they use large letters on that page, just like Internet trolls, these matters rightfully should be decided more locally:

  • matters like healthcare and education facilities as well as economic incentives belong somewhere at the regional, provincial or municipal level I think
  • a certain percentage of the taxes resulting from regions, provinces, municipalities/cities should I think go to them, for them to be more flexible
  • there are provincial and municipal councils to decide on how funds are spent – democratic checks – might regional councils also be an idea?
  • if one does not trust the councils at whatever level, then the local level would be a place to start with Freedom of Information
  • Plebiscites at these levels might be an idea as well – including the power to impeach governors and mayors if needed

Federalism might overwhelm the Philippine system and not solve its problems – maybe focused decentralization is needed more. Some ideas:

  • The implementation of education, justice, healthcare, economic incentives and more are State matters in Germany. The Federation can concentrate on its more important responsibilities.
  • it does not necessarily have to be federal – why can there not be regional councils? After some years of experience, one could still decide on whether to make them states. Not rush in.
  • Tax brackets, nurses pay and other things have to be decided on by Congress as well. Why not index them in the future, based on buying power? NEDA could revise the index every year.

One should not forget that the Philippines spans a distance similar to the one from Oslo to Rome, going from North to South – and Congress decides even on the naming of streets!

Here in Europe people often hate “Brussels” – the Commission – for deciding on many things in member countries. But these are mostly standards – not where to open schools and hospitals. Corporations may decide to centralize certain things for efficiency – but a country burdening its legislature with that level of detail is of course inefficient – time to unclutter the system?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 26 May 2016

 

13 comments to Uncluttering a System

  • karlgarcia

    DEMOCRATIC DEFICITS IN THE PHILIPPINES: WHAT IS TO BE DONE? BY DR. CLARITA R. CARLOS

    Also available in Deutsch

    The book outlines the areas where there are deficiencies in the democratic system in the Philippines. From democratic institutions to social and economic systems and processes, the authors argue that it is imperative to reform such institutions and processes in order to fulfill the promises of democracy. 222 Pages

    http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_21327-1522-1-30.pdf?110126063409

  • http://www.eccp.com/articles-page.php?category=25&article_id=1867#details

    ECCP has supported Project Repeal since it started a few months ago as an initiative of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC). On June 13, eight government agencies joined hands, targeting 17,300 department issuances that are outdated, redundant or contradictory, to help eliminate red tape and curb incidences of corruption. Project Repeal will be extended to identifying redundant, burdensome and irrelevant legislation. The definition of terms is as follows: amendment, consolidation, delisting, repeal.

    Senator Bam Aquino, a Project Repeal ally, suggested the creation of a Philippine Efficiency Office (he will file a bill shortly) which would be mandated to prevent laws that will be redundant and burdensome for the economy. He sees the need to make the Philippines more efficient in order to be competitive on a global basis.

  • karlgarcia

    Joe America says:
    June 16, 2016 at 8:51 am
    As an issue, your point that the laws don’t provide indexing is a legitimate criticism of a LOT of laws in the Philippines. Building codes are a part of national law, so if different standards are required to get rid of asbestos or use larger nails, the Legislature has to tend to that. They are sooooo busy tending to the nits that they never address the big laws like land use. So that criticism of the law-making methods is definitely spot on.

    A lot of laws are burdened with details and not properly indexed or delegated.

    • The lack of indexing especially when it comes to taxes and government employees income is part of the problem.

      Of course progress will cause consumer prices to rise, as many people earn higher salaries this becomes a cost factor.

      If salaries rise and tax brackets no longer reflect the real buying power, or nurses etc. get too little and not enough is left due to higher prices, expect discontent.

  • I tend to think that province is the proper size instead of city/municipality.

    I believe that all cities in NCR should be dissolved and replaced with only regional powers.

    My ideal setup would be

    BRGY – PROVINCE – REGION

    for NCR split to 3-5 provinces

    Caloocan + Valenzuela + QC + Manila
    Pateros + Taguig + Makati + Mandaluyong + Pasig
    Muntinlupa + Las Pinas + Paranaque + Taguig+ Pateros

    or something similar

    brgy province region

    If technology permits what I would really want is

    Brgy – Region

    I think there is a minimum size for effective land use regulations and cities are too small for my sensibilities.

    National – Regional – Brgy

    • The size of province you are proposing is similar to my idea of “cantons”.

      Some provinces are too large to be properly handled, many cities/municipalities too small.

      A canton in Switzerland is usually a well-manageable and accessible area of land.

      The 3 areas of NCR you mentioned meet that criteria – north of the Pasig, south of the Pasig then the area towards Cavite/Batangas.

      Classic Swiss cantons are in the same valley with no mountain passes separating people and mostly with the same dialect.

    • sonny

      Gian, this so reminds of what we studied in Biology: cell -> tissue -> organ -> respiratory system -> repeat process for central nervous system, digestive system and all the other systems. 🙂

  • bill

    This discussion is about Federalism and centralisation.
    A the moment the congress attempts to legislate and govern everything..Bizarre !

    So decentralising will be good.

    But there is also a need for some dentralising at the ‘state’ or regional level. There is no need to have so many provinces. In fact these provinces exist just because there is a local powerful family that wants to run things in it’s area.

    So get rid of the provinces ! Merge them into the new states or regions. Make these these old trapo families compete with each other in each state or region for popular electoral support. That might turn them into a force for good change instead of more of the same.

  • bill

    This discussion is about Federalism and centralisation.
    A the moment the congress attempts to legislate and govern everything..Bizarre !

    So decentralising will be good.

    But there is also a need for some dentralising at the ‘state’ or regional level. There is no need to have so many provinces. In facts there are these provinces just because there is a local powerful family that wants to run things.

    So get rid of the provinces ! Merge them into the new states or regions. Make these these old trapo families compete with each other in each state or region for popular electoral support. That might turn them into a force for good change instead of more of the same.

  • The overly detailed nonsense that starts with the constitution and spreads like a disease throughout the laws of the land reflects a huge mistrust of Filipinos other than those who wrote the laws and can’t let go of power.

  • Mariano Renato Pacifico

    Right! Decentralization is like federalization giving micro decisions to local level. The Central Government creating standards for details and implementation to the local level.

    What is being uncluttered now is the aligning of myriad political parties into few. The Liberal Party members are jumping overboard in droves. First there were 80, in today’s news the whole of Visayas is joining all out with Duterte.

    Benigno Aquino III will be known in history as the President that destroyed the Liberal Party like Ferdinand Marcos destroyed the National Party.

    The question should be asked, why are they turning their backs on Benigno Aquino? Why now? Why not then? For what reason? Does Duterte reflect what they have in their mind all along all these years that they cannot say in the face of Benigno Aquino?

    We can never know. These alignment of allegiances to unclutter and rinse Liberal Party of dubious loyalties is good. This may lead to a two-party political system.

  • karlgarcia

    I feel you Irineo.

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