April 5, 2019 – the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) held its National Forum and Launch of Policy Report and Proposals for Charter Change and Federalism at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati.
The first panel of discussions talked about governance and human rights. The speakers of the first panel include ConCom member Dr. Julio Teehankee, Atty. Ishak Mastura of IAG Development Consulting Inc., and Ms. Sakantula Kardigamar of International IDEA.
A unique discussion in the first panel was performed by Ms. Kardigamar as she spoke about the experience of Sri Lanka when it comes to Charter Change. Moreover, the first panel highlighted the democratic deficits in the country that can only be addressed by constitutional change: (1) issue of political dynasty, (2) issue of political parties, (3) issue of the party list system, and (4) issue of money politics.
The second panel talked about fiscal arrangements. The speakers of the second panel include Dr. Romulo Miral Jr. from the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department, and LOGODEF Director and ConCom member Prof. Edmund Tayao.
Important concepts discussed by Dr. Miral in the second panel of discussions are: (1) the common resource pool [CPR] problem, (2) fragmented government system, and (3) patronage politics in the country which he argued are factors that makes the initiative to federalism problematic. On the other hand, Professor Tayao argued that the issue of finance is embedded in the performance or effectiveness of the current form of government. Prof. Tayao argued that recent attempts at ‘computing’ financial conditions of transitioning to a federal form of government will ultimately yield the same result as the framework that is being used in the analysis is still in favor of the current system.
The third panel discussed about transitional mechanisms and processes. The speakers of the third panel include MNLF Counsel and ConCom member Atty. Randolph Parcasio, Ms. Amanda Cats-Baril from International IDEA. Also presented during the third panel of discussion was the People’s Draft Constitution which is an initiative of PUBLICUS and Tanggulang Demokrasya.
In the third panel of discussions, Atty. Parcasio clarified certain provisions in the Bayanihan Constitution. On the other hand, Ms. Amanda Cats-Baril from International Idea provided a discussion on important factors to consider during government transitions. These factors are: (1) level of violence in a post-conflict situation, (2) integrity of legitimacy of existing constitutions [where if this is the case transitions will be easily carried out], (3) Strategy of negotiations or dialogue with champions of the status quo or the elite who might be afraid of losing power, (4) momentum of the constitutional paradigm, and (5) resources available.
In addition, Ms. Cats-Baril provided the following particular challenges that are related to federal transitions. These include: (1) technical implementation, (2) Judicial interpretation [specifically what the courts think of the provisions in the new constitution, (3) legislature in determining what the constitution is calling for in specific policies, (4) culture in terms of society, (5) Resistance from the center, (6) Knowledge of the sub-national governments or their independence after federalism, lastly, (7) the uncertainty of the powers and responsibilities of each level of government.
After the panel of discussions, DILG IATF Usec. Jonathan Malaya provided updates to the public about the federalism initiative of the Duterte administration. He noted that when people ask if the federalism initiative will take-off, the answer is a yes-and-no.
Meeting concluded at around 4:00 pm.