LETTERS FROM DAVAO: Spooking Federalism

By Jun Ledesma

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte wants to perpetuate himself in power. When former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was installed Speaker of the House of Representatives, another tale was conjured: She will return to power.

These are among the scare tactics of those who oppose the change of the present unitary form of government to a federal system.

When some nitwits posted on Facebook Mocha Uson with a dancing buffoon in what looks like a first step of Mocha-led P90-million info drive strategy to get her 5-million followers educated, the critics of varied colors pounced on her like hungry hyennas. Mocha’s co-host, after all, looks and talks like a king’s jester who confidently tells us Singapore is a federal state and that the Philippines is the only remaining country in this part of the globe that has not embraced federalism.

That Duterte will stay an hour more after his term ends is a classic example of fakery.
If only VP Leni Robredo is compentent enough, he will step down from office once the new constitution is approved in a plebiscite. That GMA will return to power is nebulous and speculative. That Mocha will get a P90-million funding for her info drive is another figment in the imagination of black propagandists. The only real thing in that FB post is the now famous “Pepe and Dede” line of the comedian whose gyrating behind speaks eloquently of what goes on in his/her head.

Oh well, we need comic relief to keep our sanity. Frankly, I haven’t seen the draft of the proposed constitution done by the Consultative Committee headed by Justice Reynato Puno. DILG or PCOO should post this on their domain for easy access and then spice this up with latest news development, videos and photos. The domain could be a debating forum to make things exciting minus the posts of unidentifiable trolls that use profane language and the dumb “Pepe Dede” initiative.

The road to change is fraught with cynism and absurd speculations spawned by politicized political analysts. Justice Puno assured us that in time the fear of the unknown will fade. I believe so.

A taxi driver that brought me
from my residence to the airport in Davao last Thursday asked coyly. “Sir unsa man ng Pederalismo? Alang ba ni sa komunista ug NPA?” (Sir, what is this Federalism? Is this for the communists and the NPAs?). I almost broke into laughter but realizing how serious he was, I managed to only say that it’s a system of government that will devolve most of the central powers in the present centrist government to the region like Region 11 which will also retain at least 80 percent of tax revenues instead of 20 at most. “Diay ba? Abi nako
eslogan sa NPA kay ‘ismo’ man? (Is that right? All the while I thought
it is an NPA slogan because of ‘ism’. )

The taxi driver was smiling in amusement as I handed
him my fare.

I realized a dire need for information to elicit awareness but not the
kind of comedy and stark display of ignorance that throw cold water to the draft constitution.

But never mind the curtain raisers. I am confident that Sec. Martin Andanar and the DILG will soon put their acts together. The upgrades done by PCOO on the government Television and radio assets are almost accomplished with communications hubs in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao
now operational. They are just in the first lap. The amateurs and the clowns had their feel or fill and will soon be consigned and confined to the bleachers.

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