Thursday, January 18, 2018

Episode 15: The question of Philippine federalism (Part 3)

Now that congress has formally started hearings on charter revisions to shift to a federal structure of government, some legislators are asking: Well, what’s the benefit to the public? Is federalism worth the trouble? The same goes for the proposed adoption of a semi-parliamentary form of government. And is it appropriate for the Philippines, a country of over 100 million people, dispersed over 7,000 islands? In this third and final installment to this series, we seek to supply the answer to these questions, as well as offer a critique of the proposed revisions of the ruling PDP-Laban.

Listen to the podcast here.

Read the transcripts here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Episode 14: Twelve constitutional fixes needed for the Philippines

There are things within our present charter that need fixing. Twelve to be exact. These revisions won’t require any term extensions or postponement of elections. This episode will be devoted to discussing each of them. Hopefully the need to fix them will be self-evident, and may result in some kind of consensus, across party-lines [image credit:].

Monday, January 1, 2018

Episode 13: How does change come about?

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Corruption reigns, political families reign, now drugs and criminality, secession and rebellion persist. Much of our society is still mired in poverty. How do we achieve real, lasting change? We look at the context, prospects and pace of change in the Philippines in this episode. Erratum: Tocqueville's Democracy in America was published in 1835, not in the late 1700s as mentioned in the piece.
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the transcript here.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Episode 12: The question of Philippine federalism, Part 2

Some critics of the push for federalism have questioned why? Why empower local elites, who might run their regional governments like personal fiefdoms? Greater fiscal autonomy will just bloat the bureaucracy and provide greater opportunities for corruption.

Since political dynasties resurfaced after EDSA ‘86 and still dominate the current political landscape, how do we convince these powerful elites to legislate something that might harm their own interests, to begin with? What’s in it for them, in other words?

In this episode we look at the proposals for political and electoral reforms, proposed by the Federal Institute Study Group, which would allow the Philippines to gain the full benefit of localization through federalism.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Episode 11: Duterte on a similar path as Daang Matuwid?

Both Daang Matuwid and the Duterte’s Tapang at Malasakit sought to reshape society through moral rectitude: the former by fighting corruption, the latter by fighting drugs and criminals. The problem was that both the LP and DDS (Duterte Defense Squad) took extra-legal and extra-judicial shortcuts to achieve their objectives, thinking that their democratic mandate justified this.

But democratic accountability and rule of law can sit side by side with robust and effective law enforcement. Achieving this requires both administration and opposition to work together towards a national consensus around workable solutions. Purposeful evolution rather than revolution is needed.

Listen to or download the podcast here.

Get the show notes to the podcast here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Episode 10: The question of Philippine federalism, Part 1

Consider the following question: Would you rather have our government run by competent national officials, or by less competent local officials with better ties to local communities?

Or to paraphrase Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, who said he’d rather have a government “run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans”, would you prefer your town to be “run like hell” by local officials than to be “run like heaven” remotely by distant officials from Imperial Manila? This is the question of the hour, as we consider federalism.

Get the show notes to this podcast here.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Episode 9: Duterte's foreign policy, Part 1

(image courtesy of
This episode is the first in a series where we will look at President Duterte’s foreign policy. Many analysts say that it is in total disarray. They cite the strained relations with the EU and US for his war on drugs, our inability to press home the advantage after winning our arbitration case against China in the Hague back in July 2016. But are they right? Does the president’s foreign policy lack cohesion and clarity? [Errata: it is mentioned at the start of the clip that China will be represented by Pres. Xi at the summit, when it is Premier Li Keqiang who is attending on his behalf. Sr Assoc Justice Carpio was referred to as a "former" justice when he in fact is a current one.]

Listen to or download the podcast here.

Get the show notes to this podcast here.