To our beloved Bishops:
The “Federalism” being sold to the Filipino people is pseudo-federalism or “reverse federalism” or “inverted federalism” which is actually “Balkanization (breaking-up of the Philippines) In Disguise”. Genuine federalism has a pre-requesite – the pre-existence of states or nations, independent of each other – before federalism can happen. However, in the Philippines, there has never been any state or nation before the arrival of the Spaniards. There were only the “Barangays” and these barangays did not go on to become states nor nations. Therefore, the Philippines has always been one nation, one country and one people called “Indios” by the Spaniards and “Filipinos” by Rizal. The United States came into being only after thirteen (13) states – independent from each other – realized that, as individual countries they were weak and were prone to being retaken by Britain, and thereby decided to come together to become just one country and one nation – the United States of America. Please note that the word “States” in the United States of America is plural. This is because several pre-existing “states” – independent from each other – came together to become just one country and no longer thirteen (13) independent countries. It is therefore very clear that genuine federalism makes just one country out of several countries or several states or several peoples and genuine federalism makes the territorial jurisdiction bigger and not smaller. What the proponents of pseudo-federalism is pushing here in the Philippines, however, will make the big country, Philippines, smaller by dividing it into several “states.” This is the complete reverse or opposite of federalism, thus the term “reverse federalism” or “inverted federalism.”
Likewise, no President and no individual has the right, under the laws of God and the laws of man, to force several provinces to become one “state”. This is because “states” come into being naturally and not artificially by the whims and caprices of a person or a group of persons. Each of the thirteen “states” of the North American country we now call as “United States of America” came into being naturally out of the course of history. No “President” nor “political party” subdivided North America into thirteen “states” out of one single country. Instead, the single country we now call “United States of America” came into being only after the pre-existing thirteen states voluntarily came together to become one country. This is in sharp contrast to what Pres. Duterte and the PDP-Laban want to happen in the Philippines wherein they alone, in their “wisdom,” decide which provinces shall be grouped to become one “state” until all our provinces have been artificially grouped into several “states” and these “states” are then forced to become one country. It must be remembered that if we create several “states” out of the Philippines, we cannot and should not force these “states” to come together to become one country. Rather, each of these “states” must individually give their “permission” or “approval” before they can join a “federation.” If one “state” does not give its permission or approval to join the “Philippine federation,” then this particular “state” will be the newest country on earth and will become a member of the United Nations.
Therefore, the proper procedure before a “state” can be a member of the “Philippine federation” is first, create this particular state (which should not be done in the first place because it will be artificial as stated here earlier), and second, this particular state must first decide freely on its own whether to join the “Philippine federation” or not. This decision must necessarily be done by the citizens of this particular state through a special referendum wherein the one and only question must be “Do you approve the proposal to make this state (state of Mindanao, for example) a member of the Philippine Federation?” If the “yes” votes win in this particular special referendum which only has one question or proposition, then the state of Mindanao, as an example here, will become a member of the Philippine Federation, but if the “no” votes win, then the state of Mindanao must necessarily NOT become a member of the Philippine Federation and must therefore become the newest country on earth and must become a member of the United Nations or U.N.
We must also remember that before there can be “federalism,” the 1987 Constitution must first be amended through a CONSTITUTIONAL process, preferably a Constitutional Convention, wherein members of the political dynasties must not be allowed to become con-con delegates. Only those citizens who are not members of any political dynasty must be allowed to become con-con delegates. Con-con delegates must also be non-partisan – not belonging to any political party nor any regional party nor any party-list party. We must remember that the Republic Act that created the 1971 Constitutional Convention required con-con delegates to be NON-PARTISAN otherwise they will not be allowed to become con-con delegates. We must also make sure that only intelligent and meritorious citizens must become members of this Constitutional Convention and so, we can demand that before you can become a con-con delegate, you must first be someone who has passed any Board or Bar examination – only sectoral representatives coming from the fisherfolks and farmers sectors must be exempted from this requirement. In short, there must be a Republic Act which specifies the qualifications of con-con delegates before we allow any tinkering of our sacred Constitution.
Why is our Constitution sacred? Because many of the provisions in the 1987 Constitution did not just appear there easily. Many of its provisions actually came from the lives, the blood and the sacrifices of our heroes from the 1896 revolution up to the 1986 revolution. Why? Because many of the provisions of the 1987 Constitution were taken from the 1898 Malolos Constitution (which, in turn, has many provisions of earlier Constitutions), the 1935 Constitution, and the 1973 Constitution. Likewise, many important provisions of the 1987 Constitution must never be amended because they embody the way-of-life of the Filipino people, like democracy, human rights, sovereignty, social justice, anti-political dynastism, anti-foreign military bases, anti-monopoly, etc. For example, the Filipino people just recently went to Luneta en masse to protest against the pork-barrel system and its abolition. The Supreme Court therefore issued a decision abolishing the pork-barrel system citing the fact that legislators must not engage in “projects” because there is the “SEPARATION OF POWERS” . This “Separation of Powers” doctrine did not just appear in the 1987 Constitution, it is a product of what our heroes have been fighting for since the time of the revolution against Spain. In fact, no less than Apolinario Mabini advocated what is now known as the “Trinity Theory of Mabini” wherein there must be checks and balances and separate powers for the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments. If we, for example, adopt the Parliamentary System, then the separation of powers will disappear and there will be fusion of the Executive and the Legislative Departments and the hated pork-barrel system will thus become “legal” once more. This is why the 1898 Constitution, influenced to some extent by Apolinario Mabini, did not really adopt the parliamentary system although it had a “Prime Minister.”
The bicameral system of our Congress is not also “bad” as some people would have us believe. It is also designed to have checks and balances. Imagine if we only had one “house” or unicameral chamber, then the much-hated and very controversial “Bangsa Moro Basic Law” would have become a law during the time of Pres. Noynoy Aquino. But by God’s grace, we have the bicameral system of Congress and the Senate was able to block the foreign-pushed BBL from becoming a law, thus preventing the wholesale plunder of the “oil, natural gas and uranium” of Mindanao by foreign oil and energy companies. We must remember that the words “oil, natural gas and uranium” are mentioned many times in the text of the BBL itself. In other words, we must not discount the possibility that some traitors among the Filipinos may be in connivance with foreign countries or foreign corporations to amend our sacred 1987 Constitution to facilitate the enactment of the BBL into law.
Now, going back to federalism. Under federalism the national debt will increase due to the added unnecessary layers of government. This may, in fact, be what China, the IMF-World Bank and the local bankers want – to increase our deficit – so that the Filipino people will pay more taxes to pay for debts to China, the IMF-WB and the local bankers. Is there really a need to create “states” with their respective Executives, Legislatives and Judiciaries? We must remember that each of these branches of state governments will have their own bureacracies and budgets. Each brance will have their own palaces or buildings filled with bureacrats working in them. We have not yet included here the budgets for the State Police and State Armed Forces (National Guards) of each “state.” This means more expenses, more deficits, more debts and therefore – MORE TAXES! We must not forget that our people are already saddled with the heaviest taxes on earth and these taxes are NOT INCOME TAXES BUT TAXES ON MERE CONSUMPTION! This means that those who earn big income will pay less taxes (as a proportion to their income) while those who are earning small income or not earning any income at all will pay more taxes because the taxes are levied on consumption rather than on income. Federalism will therefore surely add fatal tax burdens on our already heavily-taxed people due to the more expenses that it will surely entail.
There are only practically two and a half (2.5) regions that can truly become “states” – Region 3, NCR (National Capital Region or Metro Manila) and Calabarzon because these are the only regions that earn enough income to sustain themselves. In fact, these 2.5 regions have been subsidizing all other regions of our country. It will be unfair for these 2.5 regions to continue subsidizing the other “states” once federalism is adopted. In fact, many residents of these said 2.5 regions share the opinion that once federalism is adopted, Region 3, NCR and Calabarzon must become one “state” and not become a part of the “Philippine Federation” and just become the newest country on earth and become a member of the United Nations or U.N. And so, what is the use of federalism when these aforementioned 2.5 regions will just continue to subsidize all the other “states”?
Is federalism really needed? Perhaps what is only needed is to implement what is already written in our 1987 Constitution which is the AUTOMATIC RELEASE OF FUNDS TO ALL LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS. The provisions of the 1987 Constitution regarding genuine autonomy and full autonomy of LGUs must also be truly implemented. Finally, the provision of the Constitution regarding the OWNERSHIP OF ALL NATURAL RESOURCES BY THE STATE and INDUSTRIALIZATION must also be implemented! Why? Because federalism will not lift our people from poverty. What will lift our people from poverty is the creation of jobs by the government. And how can the government create jobs? By converting the natural resources that it owns into finished products by establishing factories in all regions of the our country. Right now, all these natural resources that God created only for Filipinos, are being cheaply exported! What happens is, other countries’ factories are converting our very own natural resources into finished products and selling these finished products expensively to us! Their factories provide jobs for their peoples while, we, the source of all these natural resources, are suffering from unemployment and underemployment!
Going back to “federalism,” the biggest problem that “reverse federalism” or “inverted federalism” will give to us is balkanization! It is recognized by the United Nations that each “people” has the right to “self-determination” which is actually “independence.” If we adopt “federalism,” each state will have the INHERENT RIGHT TO SECEDE because this is the inherent characteristic of federalism – that each state must first give its permission or approval before joining a federation – and that after, joining the federation, each state INHERENTLY retains the right to secede. This INHERENT RIGHT cannot be abolished by a mere provision in the constitution. Thus, the southern states of the United States exercised this inherent right to secede when they announced their secession from the U.S.A. to establish the Confederacy. It was only the refusal of the then-President of the U.S.A., Abraham Lincoln, to respect this inherent right of each state to secede from the federation (U.S.A.) that saved the day for the survival and continuous existence of the U.S.A. today but only after a bloody civil war! In fact, it is the bloodiest war in the history of the U.S.A. that if you add all the deaths in all the other wars wherein the U.S.A. got involved and compare this total to the deaths during the American Civil War, the latter has far more recorded deaths than the former. Another fact is, Yugoslavia has become extinct due to federalism. When the various states of Yugoslavia exercised their respective inherent rights to secede from Yugoslavia and the so-called “International Community” recognized their respective “independence” from Yugoslavia, the nation-state of Yugoslavia found itself at war, not only with the former Yugoslav states that declared their respective “independence” but also at war with the “International Community” thus ensuring the defeat of Yugoslavia and the eventual extinction of Yugoslavia.
Right now, there are many countries around the Philippines that want to get pieces of Philippine territory. It will not be a surprise that, once we adopt “federalism,” these countries will finance and arm “independence” movements in the different “states” of the “Philippine Federation” or cause the conducting of referendums of referenda in these “states.” We must remember that Scotland almost got detached from the United Kingdom by a mere referendum. Britain itself got detached from the federation of the European Union by a simple referendum. And therefore, it is not impossible that through a mere referendum, Mindanao will become the newest “state” of the “Federation of Malaysia.” We have already lost “Sabah” through a mere “referendum.” Shall we lose Mindanao to Malaysia also through a referendum to be administered by the Comelec headed by Chairman Sherrif Abas?
Very truly yours,
THE FILIPINO PEOPLE