PASAY CITY OCTOBER 12 – A German expert on federalism underscored that the strict implementation of party financing in the existing electoral system will be one of the major facets of the planned shift to federal form of government by the present administration that will effectively and efficiently contribute in the on-going efforts to curb the existence of patronage politics and political dynasties in the different parts of the country.
Dr. Andreas Heinemann-Gruder, of the University of Bonn, said hat party financing will greatly help in reducing the dependence of politicians to private donors who will in turn inform their decision-making once they will be in power in whatever capacity in which their decisions might be detrimental to the welfare of the greater majority of the populace.
Gruder was one of the main speakers during the 3-day Seminar-Workshop for Media practitioners on Federalism spearheaded by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), the national association of newspapers, the Pimentel Institute of Leadership and governance and the German-based Hanns Seidel foundation – Philippines that was held at the Hotel Jen here. Dr. Gruder claimed that political dynasties exist whenever there is a patron-client relationship and that the ultimate remedy to cut off the dependence of the client to the patron is for the putting in place of the appropriate party financing system that will allow government to subsidize the political parties to lessen their dependence to private donors who will in turn play a key role in influencing their future political decisions to the advantage of whatever their interests.
The German federalism expert pointed out monopoly comes in play when a few people control scarce resources of the State that often result to the uneven growth and development in the countryside considering that all powers and resources will be concentrated in the highly centrist form of government.
“A lot of developed nations in the world have federations that allowed bottom to up system but it took sometime for the countries to enjoy federal status,” Gruder stressed.
The German federal expert emphasized asserted that in the Philippines, there is a need for the government to establish the basic foundation on the panned shift to federal form of government such as the realization of peace, national integration, powered scaling of the masses among others so that there will be a common stand point in clamouring for the desired change in the system of government.
According to him, the shift to federal form is not a magic pill that will eventually cure the problems of the present system of government in the Philippines bit it will take more time for the transition to be in place for the realization of the benefits of the federal form of government.
Gruder emphasized that there is no ideal form of federal government that is in place because what matters is the structure that fits the prevailing situation in the country aside from the credibility and integrity of the ones advocating for the shift in the form of government aside from the diversity of the people living in the country.
While it is not conclusive whether or not federalism will address the prevalence of corruption and political dynasties in the present form of government, Gruder stated that there are instances where countries that embraced federal status were successful in curbing the proliferation of rampant corruption and the existence of dynasties and that there were also countries that had successful dynasties that continue to rule their nations to date.
He claimed that what is importance in the case of the Philippines is for the local governments to be empowered to be judicious in making sound governance decisions that will translate to economic growth and development without compromising the delivery of services to the people, especially in the poorer regions that have to receive subsidies from the national government in the form of equalization funding.
By Dexter A. See