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Strongest argument against federalism

They say there are two reasons that the story of Romeo and Juliet is one of the most enduring of all time.

First, while they were married secretly, they never lived together.

Second, they did not have in-law problems.

* * *

One of the biggest setbacks of federalism is the prevailing problem of political dynasties. If we divide the country into regions and states, these dynasties can only be enhanced.

This is validated by the fact that while the 1987 Constitution prohibits dynasties, Congress has never passed an enabling law for this.

The reason dynasties exist is historical. The Philippines was originally a tribal society in pre-colonial days.

My gulay, it still is!

Just note the fact that in the US, there are Chinese communities and Korean communities, but no solid Filipino communities because the Ilocanos, Cebuanos, Ilongos, etc can never mix with each other.

In Muslim Mindanao, it’s a different thing altogether. Muslims look up to datus and sultans, and political clans rule the day. And it’s a fact that Maranaos, who are basically traders, cannot mix with Maguindanaoans, basically farmers. These two groups also cannot mix with the Tausigs of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi because the latter are perceived as pirates.

That is the big problem of federalism. I wonder how its advocates can go about arguing for it.

* * *

As I have said in previous columns, government neglect is the reason why the island paradise of Boracay has become a cesspool.

The local government has allowed so many establishments to operate on a small piece of land. Even relatives of Malay officials have their own businesses.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government is also to blame, because it has the task of ensuring that the establishments do not violate the Clean Air Act.

In a way, too, the Department of Tourism is to blame for not ensuring the convenience of tourists who go to Boracay.

Now, will the island of Panglao in Bohol be another cesspool? The local government also seems to be failing to prevent establishments from dumping garbage and human waste into the sea.

This, too, can happen in Palawan if we are not careful.

President Duterte must now impose discipline among many local government units to safeguard their treasures. He should crack the whip and hold the officials of Malay, Aklan responsible for what has happened in Boracay. He must show he is serious.

* * *

Malacañang has announced that the President still trusts Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo after her excessive travels where she brings her bookkeepers, messengers and drivers. She says they are the “little people” whom she rewards for their length of service at the department.

Santa Banana, President Duterte has sacked officials for the same offense. Why not her?

Of course Teo should try to go out of the country and sell it to foreigners. But why does she have to bring everybody?

Why is the President tolerating her

* * *

The House Committee on Justice must now end the hearings on the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The most telling testimony is her failure to submit all of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth. This is a basic requirement!

Recall that the late Chief Justice Renato Corona was convicted for not declaring his dollar accounts in his SALN. He was deemed to have betrayed public trust.

Sereno’s failure to submit her complete SALN is enough!

* * *

Yesterday I said that the appointment of Iglesia ni Cristo executive minister Eduardo Manalo as envoy for Filipino concerns overseas was a violation of the principle of separation of church and state.

To say that Manalo will not use public funds to pursue his mission is farfetched. Santa Banana, when Manalo seeks the help of embassies and missions abroad to attend to the concerns of OFWs, it clearly means he would use government funds.

Another thing that must not be forgotten is the perception that it is payback time for Manalo for supporting the President during the last elections.

Would the head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines accept the job of an envoy? Certainly not!

* * *

President Duterte joked that he wants the Philippines to be a province of China. This was ill-advised.

In the first place, the Philippines has encouraged China to act as it has. We seem to have a policy of accommodation and appeasement with China. We do dare question what it does because, as the President said, China has helped us with loans and investments.

More importantly, a president should not joke about sovereignty. People may laugh, but it’s not funny, my gulay!

In effect, the President belittles our gains in The Hague, before the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Mr. President, please refrain from joking about everything. We want to look up to you to assert ourselves as far as China is concerned.

* * *

Somebody asked if I like fantasy movies. Yes I do.

At my age, I am still an escapist. I want to get out of the realities which I read and see every day. I also like the constant battle between good and evil.

After the Japanese Occupation, I started collecting comic books. I like the humor and the sense of adventure.

Even now, I don’t miss reading comic strips in some broadsheets.

My love for fantasies makes me an avid follower of Game of Thrones. It has everything—pathos, betrayal, conspiracy, sword fights—even sex!

Topics: Strongest argument against federalism
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