“THE permanent principles of the Church’s social doctrine constitute the very heart of Catholic social teaching. These are the principles of: the dignity of human person–which is the foundation of all other principles and content of the Church’s social doctrine–the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity.
These principles, the expression of the whole truth about man known by reason and faith, are born of “the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demand summarized in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbor in justice with the problems emanating from the life of society!”
In the course of history and with the light of the Spirit, the Church has wisely reflected within her own tradition of faith and has been able to provide an ever more accurate foundation and shape to these principles, progressively explaining them in the attempt to respond coherently to the demands of the times and to the continuous developments of social life”. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the (Catholic) Church, : 2004).
One of the co-publishers in the Philippines of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace book is the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). It is safe to say that all Filipino Catholics, weather religious, clergy or laity, should faithfully abide but this Social Doctrine in their social life.
That is clear as a whistle. Hence, when we talk of our political system, we Filipino Catholics must favor one which dutifully follows the Principles of the Common Good, Subsidiary, Participation, and Solidarity without exception. Let us now examine and analyze our Church’s Social Principles?
To be more specific, let’s analyze one by one, the following social principles: 1. On the Principle of the Common Good, we say “NO”. 2. On the Principle of Subsidiarity, we also say “NO” 3. On the Principle of Solidarity, we likewise say “NO.” 4. On the Principle of Participation, again we say “NO”.
It is crystal clear, that our present Unitary System does not follow the Social Principles of the Catholic Church. No wonder, our political situation in the Philippines is a very chaotic one. Since this is the case, should we Filipino Catholics close our eyes and just keep praying that God will transform our very sick political system without our corresponding action?
Sad to say, this seems to be what is happening now! Thus our “cancerous” Philippine Society continues to wreak havoc in our country by worsening social sins within our midst. This is the sorrowful mystery of our people and nation. Our Catholic leaders seem remiss, to say the least, to seriously address this “specter that haunts” our people and nation for a long long time. And you know what? Our national hero Dr. Jose M. Rizal was the first Filipino to call our attention on our “cancerous” society partly brought about by a highly centralized Unitary System.
Rizal in his “Las Filipinas Dentro de Cien Años” (The Philippines a Century Hence) wisely commented then: “As the tendency of countries that have been tyrannized over, when they have shaken off the yoke is to adopt the freest government by a law of reaction, the Islands (Philippines) will probably declare themselves a FEDERAL REPUBLIC:. Wow! What a Vision! Unfortunately, very few Filipinos know about Rizal’s futuristic outlook.
Obviously, a more democratic, flexible, highly decentralized, adhering to our Church’s social principles and therefore highly moral, proven, responsive, efficient, effective, empowering, and truly inclusive political system is a FEDERAL SYSTEM. If this is really the case, why did we not adopt a federal system when we got our independence and organized our government?
We were not able to do so because of Filipino Imperialists who replaced our foreign colonizers in control of our political and economic lives. These Filipino Imperialists are the number one advocates of the status quo particularly of maintaining the unresponsive and oppressive Unitary System for their own selfish interests.
More on this in our succeeding articles. But let’s take this opportunity to call the attention of Filipino Catholics and our Catholic Church especially the CBCP to this great in our Philippine history. We hope that they will lead in introducing reforms that will eventually transform our government into a Federal System.
Yes, our prescription is for us to boldly and passionately pursue now the Real Social Transformation consisting of, 1) Honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform, and 2) Authentic People Reform. “inclusive” is now one of the favorite terms of many world leaders.
Webster defines “inclusive” simply as “taking everything into account.” Comprehensive is its synonym. Some development conscious people use “Comprehensive” in lieu of “inclusive.”
To have a truly inclusive growth in a country, it requires a truly inclusive political and economic systems. It is therefore deceiving or deceptive to claim that our nation has inclusive growth without both inclusive political and economic systems in our country. Some of the benefits of a well-studied federal systems are: 1. It will beneficially transform our chaotic political system; 2. It will correct the historical injustices to the Bangsamoro and Indigenous peoples; 3. It will result in “Full Democracy; 4. It will truly liberate our people from the clutches of Filipino Imperialists; 5. It will promote “unity in diversity: among Filipino; 6. It is a good antidote to the Mindanao secession; 7. It will establish a truly inclusive political system; 8. It will lead to balance development in the Philippines. 9. It will truly empower Filipino; and 10. It will make our people and nation more competitive in a globalizing world and in the 4th Industrial Revolution era, and pandemic – prone world.
Some cautions in going Federal: 1) Fragmentation of our country into political fiefdoms that promotes warlordism and irresponsible political dynasties; 2) Bloat tremendously our bureaucracy, making our federalization financially unviable and “will wreak havoc to our economy”, 3) Creation of poor regions that will need continuous subsidies and encourage mendicancy; 4) Creation of unnecessary corruptions, such as the abolition of a local government unit; and 5) Absence of wide consultations resulting in people non-participation.
In the side of caution, here is my latest vision on the composition of a Federal Republic of the Philippines. Three (3) Federal Regions, namely: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan or MinSuPala. The Luzon Federal Region will have one Metropolitan Government and one Autonomous Region.
Lately, a Federalist group has again revived the call for President Duterte to declare a revolutionary government to revise our unresponsive Constitution through People’s initiative and shift to a Federal – Parliamentary System/Form of government.
Frankly, there are other Federalist groups enduring such a move because of their frustration with the present Congress. This writer favors such move provided this will be done in a democratic way. This means the exercise of direct democracy through People Mandate. In my 2018 Pamphlet, titled: “Liberate our People, Save our Nation,” I discussed in more detail about People Mandate.
Let’s correct now this great anomaly of maintaining this Unitary System. Morally and developmentally, the continued existence of our Unitary System cannot be justified! People of the Philippines wake up to this reality!
Let us not allow fear and anxiety of genuine change paralyze us in pursuing moral, more democratic, efficient and effective systems in our country. Christian and non-Christian churches, hopefully, will likewise support this movement for the common good.
As a conclusion to this article, allow us to adopt partly Atty. Aristeo Vicente R. Albay, Chairman of our Davao-based Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago (KPP) Movement, FOREWORD OF KPP’s Manual: “ How to Federalize the Philippines”, 2017. It reads: “We Federalist Filipino are dauntless.
Through the years, our liked souls have relentlessly pushed for Federalism: the framing of the 1898 Malolos Constitution, the Federal State of Luzon, the Republic of Mindanao and the Republic Cebu. When the President promised a shift to a Federal System to solve many problems brought about by our current unitary system, we became once again, reiterating our complaints of yore: The presidential/unitary form of government, albeit, ensuring republican and democratic governance, did not translate physically into a nationally good. The administrative machinery of the Executive branch or its government bureaucracy has grown so bloated that government services suffer from bureaucratic red tape, uncontrolled corruption, and institutional incompetence.”… GO FOR FEDERALISM!”