With savory “promises” that it will “spur economic growth”, eleven senators filed Joint Resolution No. 10 “proposing the shift from a presidential to a parliamentary-federal system of government”.
The resolution proposed the creation of 11 federal states and one federal administrative region. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban), the principal author of Joint Resolution No. 10, said, the move to federalize the country is not simply a ‘political’ undertaking. It is also an economic effort. By creating 11 federal states and by converting Metro Manila as a federal administrative region, we immediately establish 12 centers of power, finance and development throughout the country. 
The proposal is meant to accomplish two main goals, according to Sen. Pimentel:
- Cause the speedy development of the entire country by unleashing the forces of competitiveness among the component federal states, and
- Dissipate the causes of rebellion in the country, particularly in Mindanao.
The plan to shift to parliamentary-federal system of government becomes an instant talk of the town. Many expressed excitement over the matter while few have some reservations.
This change is vital for our Republic, the April 26 editorial of The Manila Times noted.  While Senators Panfilo Lacson and Loren Legarda have expressed reservations on the matter, The Daily Tribune reported. 
It is good to hear that the shift to parliamentary-federal system of government will “spur economic growth”. By thinking so, it implies that under a unitary system of government, economic growth seems not possible.
Our neighbors will remind us that “the thought” is erroneous. Let us take for example South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. These countries adopt the unitary system. Our closest neighbor that adopts federal system is Malaysia. We cannot rightfully conclude that under federal system Malaysia is outperforming her neighbors, including the Philippines. Our GDP grew by 7.3 percent in 2007 under unitary system, better than the growth of Malaysia (5.90 percent – 2006 est.)  under its federal union. But of course, Malaysia has better economic performance in previous decades. But Singapore and South Korea performed better.
I am not convinced that by shifting to parliamentary-federal system of government, it will “dissipate” the causes of rebellion in Mindanao. In my humble understanding, Bangsamoro do not just seek “full autonomy” but “freedom” or independence. After all, that part of the country has enjoyed independence for centuries before and even during colonization era. Thus, with the peace agreement signed during Ramos administration, and with the establishment of ARMM, the struggle continues.
Federalism will pave way to “freedom” and will likely break Philippines into several small pieces. In a highly polarized state like the Philippines, this is not a remote possibility. Look, in the proposed states, we have the state called Central Visayas. Do you believe that Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor “think” as one Central Visayas? Certainly not. Cebu thinks as “Cebu”; Bohol as “Bohol”. Let us accept that reality. Now, I hear some proposing that Cebu should stand as one state to join the “Philippine Federation” (for a good start and soon becomes Republic of Cebu).
We have heard how Yugoslavia, a federal state, broke into several pieces. What happened to Yugoslavia will likely be replicated in the Philippines. God forbids!
I am not convinced that the the proposal is more on “economic effort”. It is obviously a political undertaking taking shield of “economic promises”. Why, will investors swarmed in once the “11 states” formed a federation? If the legislators are obsessed to uplift the economic standing of this country, they must first look into our economic reform policies.
I wish to make it clear that I am not against Joint Resolution No. 10. If the resolution sparks good exchange of opinions which result to a national consensus, then let it be. If it makes the nation aware of how a system, and how the people affect development, then let Joint Resolution No. 10 shines.
I wish also to clarify that I am not against decentralization nor to a federal system but I stand that before we all get excited that seemingly Utopian promises of federal system, we must carefully scrutinize and weigh arguments so that we can come up with a smart decision.
As of now, it is not safe for the proponents of the federal system to count the chicken – the chicks are “still eggs”.
Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!