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Former senator Lina speaks during federalism workshop
Former Senator Joey D. Lina, Jr. was a guest speaker during the second day of the Workshop on Federalism (Revisions to the 1987 Philippine Constitution) sponsored by the provincial government, headed by Governor Carlos M. Padilla, on March 10 at the Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Mary’s University, Bayombong.
Speaking about “Understanding Federalism,” Senator Lina said, “the national government is irrelevant to the province simply because the provincial government is constitutionally autonomous. The province has the power to craft and implement programs, projects and activities for the general welfare and benefit of its constituents.”
No local government can establish its own national defense, have its own currencies and weights and measures, customs and quarantine, or enter into international treaties; these are powers of the national government. But for other areas of local concern, the LGUs are in-charge. The office of the president cannot change the decisions of the local governments, as it merely exercises supervisory functions over them.
A thorough understanding of the 1987 Constitution will clearly show that the principles of federalism are already embedded in the 1987 Constitution. What needs to be done is to operationalize the hallmarks of federalism which are local autonomy, subsidiarity and decentralization.
When Lina was the Governor of Laguna, this exercise of local autonomy and subsidiarity made Laguna the country’s first-ever “billionaire province” in terms of revenue. These principles present in the 1987 Constitution qualify our present system of governance as “Philippine-style Federalism.” The federal state of other countries like Canada, Australia, Malaysia and others are all different.
According to Senator Lina; during the last Senate hearing, presided by Senator Francis Pangilinan, he pointed out that the local governments are empowered by the Constitution with the capacity for self-rule to effectively address and decide on all local concerns.
“By strengthening and fully empowering LGUs and Regional Development Councils (RDC), the essence of federal system shall be fulfilled and realized without the need of constitutional change,” Lina said. #bg