Federalism and Metro Manila – Part 2

Previously, we have discussed the matter of federalism and how it can help address the issue of congestion in Metro Manila for the region to achieve a more meaningful development. But as was pointed out last time, decongestion is just part of the equation to achieve this goal of a meaningful development. The other part of the equation is equally important, and that is governance.

A metropolis of 17 kingdoms

Metro Manila, sadly, presently suffers from an ill-conceived system of government that has often prevented measures that would have enabled meaningful development for the metropolis. The thing is, Metro Manila today is nothing more than a set of 17 little kingdoms that have their own whims with no authority that administers over them, save for the President.

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (adkranz / CC-BY-SA-4.0)

That is because these cities are classified as highly-urbanized cities. And under the 1987 Constitution (Article X, Section 12), highly-urbanized cities are considered as completely independent from the provinces, thus implying that these cities do not have an authority to answer to except to the President. (There’s the case of Pateros which is the only municipality in Metro Manila but being located in Metro Manila it is a de facto independent town in itself.)

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Federalism and Metro Manila – Part 1

In the coming weeks and months, the discussions to amend the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines will go full force. These amendments, if passed by the constituent assembly and ratified by the people, will mean a radical transformation of the way things are being run in the country.

One of these key amendments is the shift from a unitary form of government to a federal form of government. This means that the traditional highly-centralized powers based in Metro Manila will be devolved as the different regions of the country will have more say with regards to their respective development.

With that said, the question being asked is what and how will Metro Manila benefit from federalism. What does Metro Manila stand to gain from it, if any? Let this post provide some insight to these questions as we look at the metropolis’ own problems that not many people realize it has. Continue reading