Media and Federalism

Rodrigo Duterte’s advocacy for the shift to federalism gave him entry to the 2016 presidential campaign. But the issue of federalism itself did not figure in the decision of many voters to vote for him. For one, there is no one way of doing federalism and voters did not demand to know much more about how the candidate would implement the shift should he win. Six months into this term, this intent has not gained much clarity either as demonstrated by Duterte’s apparent uncertainty or lack of understanding about what he is proposing. So far, there is no one document that can serve as a guide for discussion. This vagueness has not stopped the president and his team to continue their efforts to fix the schedule so that the change to federalism as a system of government can take place.



Screengrab from GMA News Online.

Federalism: Pointing Out an Inaccuracy
Posted on: August 9, 2016

CHEERS TO some media organizations for pointing out the inaccurate claim of President Rodrigo Duterte regarding federalism during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). Speaking about a change in government type, Duterte said that he wanted to copy the “France system” (sic).

GMA News Online’s “Duterte’s design for federalism closer to German model, says expert” posted on July 28, quoted former University of the Philippines political science Professor Temario Rivera as saying that the president should have referred to the German system of government during the forum “State of the Presidency” in UP.

The report quoted Rivera saying “Yung reference ni President Duterte sa French system, medyo mali, dahil hindi federal system ang France. Unitary system, but a hybrid unitary system, dahil mayroong strong presidentdirectly elected strong presidentbut also yung day-to-day affairs of government mayroong prime minister.” (The reference of President Duterte to the French system is incorrect because France does not have a federal system. It has a unitary system, although a hybrid one, because there is a strong president—a directly elected strong president—but there is also a prime minister to run the day-to-day affairs of government.)

A column by Solita Collas-Monsod in the Philippine Daily Inquirer also provided clarification (“Shoot now, ask questions later,” July 30). “I hope he studied it. Because the French 5th Republic with this system replaced the 4th Republic’s purely parliamentary system, the French having decided that they wanted to have a president also with great power,” Monsod wrote. “But, Reader, the French system is NOT a federal system,” she added.

No news accounts in primetime as well as print covered this and provided clarification during the monitored period (July 26-31).

*Monitor updated for posting



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