DON’T look now, but the proposed shift to federalism is seen to address the paralyzing traffic congestion in heavily-populated Metropolitan Manila (MM), the country’s premier region.
In fact, more and more people, including the poor, support the view that federalism can fast-track economic development not only in urban centers but also in the countryside.
Once the benefit of growth is dispersed to all regions in the country, many of those who are in the National Capital Region (NCR) can go home to their families in the provinces.
Grinding poverty and lack of employment opportunities in the countryside force many rural people to seek “greener pasture” in urban centers, like the Metropolitan Manila area.
“So, federalism is the answer to the traffic congestion in Manila,” according to Prof. Eddie Alih, a member of Consultative Committee (ConCom), which was created by President Duterte.
Prof. Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms, said a federal setup would give the regional governor enough power to solve the problem in the NCR.
“Ang traffic problem ng NCR, mapagtutuunan na ‘yan ng (regional) governor,” said Casiple during the Department of the Interior and Local Government road show for federalism in MM.
Under the federal system of government, a critical mass of investments will go to the countryside, abandoned by residents, mostly farmers and fishers, due to lack of industrial activities.
One of the priorities of the Duterte administration, the shift to the federal system of government is also aimed at addressing the numerous problems confronting the people of Mindanao.
Particularly the armed conflict in the so-called “Land of Promise,” which has claimed the lives of so many Christians and Muslims alike, including soldiers, policemen and rebels.