09 October 2012

The Federal Republic of the Philippines?

Now that an agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been forged to establish the Bangsamoro, the question now shifts to the method with which the ‘political entity,’ as PNoy refers to the Bangsamoro, is to be established. As I stated in a previous article, my gut feel is that it will take a constitutional amendment to make this possible because the concessions to be made to the Bangsamoro as they have been initially made public do not fall in line with the country’s unitary form of government.

Coincidentally, I discovered through a friend’s post in social media this Senate Resolution Number 10 filed as far back as 23 April 2008 by then-Senators Manny Villar, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce Enrile, Francis Escudero, Jinggoy Ejercito-Estrada, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, Ramon Revilla Jr., Juan Miguel Zubiri, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda and Benigno Aquino III.

A quick check with the Philippine Senate web site shows the resolution’s current legislative status as pending in a committee. Back in 2008, I did not have had the time to get myself engrossed in the political scene; so this resolution passed me by for all intents and purposes. What I do recall is that any calls for charter amendments were quickly rehashed by opposing politicians as alleged attempts by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to keep herself in power.


As far as I could discern from the lengthy resolution, the primary reason for the shift to federalism is to accelerate economic development. In a federal setup, each state may set up its own centres of finance and development; and the resolution sees this as the way to dissipate unrest and rebellion.
With the Aquino government having forged this agreement with the MILF and the President himself among those who filed the resolution as stated by the Senate web site, one wonders if this Resolution Number 10 will be activated to pave the way for the setting up of the Bangsamoro. Do not anybody get me wrong; I am not opposed to a charter amendment.

At any rate, the resolution calls for the country to be renamed the Federal Republic of the Philippines. Metro Manila is to be the Federal Administrative Region; not dissimilar to Washington D.C. in the United States acting as the country’s federal capital.

If enacted, the new Federal Republic of the Philippines is to have eleven states:

The State of Northern Luzon: llocos Norte, llocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Tuguegarao City.

The State of Central Luzon: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales, and the Scarborough shoals and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Tarlac City.

The State of Southern Tagalog: Rizal, Quezon, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Tagaytay City. (Bakit?)

The State of Minparom: Mindoro Oriental. Mindoro Occidental, Palawan, Romblon and Marinduque and the Island, Islets, shoal and reefs that are collectively called the Kalayan Islands or the Spratlys, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Mamburao.

The State of Bicol: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Legazpi City.

The State of Central Visayas: Masbate, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Toledo City.

The State of Eastern Visayas: Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar and Eastern Samar and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Catbalogan City.

The State of Western Visayas: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Iloilo City.

The State of Northern Mindanao: Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay, and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Cagayan de Oro City.

The State of Southern Mindanao: Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Davao City.

The State of the Bangsamoro: Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, (Shariff Kabunsuan), Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi and all the cities, municipalities and barangays therein. Capital: Marawi City.

The Federal Administrative Region of Metro-Manila is to be composed of Manila, Quezon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Pasig, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Las PiƱas, ParaAaque, Malabon, Marikina, Taguig, Navotas, Valenzuela and San Juan, and the municipality of Pateros and all the barangays therein.

As far as I could discern from the lengthy resolution, the primary reason for the shift to federalism is to accelerate economic development. In a federal setup, each state may set up its own centres of finance and development; and the resolution sees this as the way to dissipate unrest and rebellion.

I am not about to go into a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of the resolution; but it does seem to contain all the elements that can pave the way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro. I am merely guessing, of course; for all I know government may have something else up its sleeve. It will be interesting to know, needless to say.

For those who wish to keep reading on the resolution, you may download the PDF document here: http://senate.gov.ph/14th_congress/resolutions/sjr-10.pdf.

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