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Philippine Federalism Discourse
Article in 50 Shades of Federalism Focuses the Conversation on Deepening Decentralisation and Local Empowerment

Where is the Philippines in its federalism journey as it seeks full devolution of powers and resources? Alex B. Brillantes, Jr., Ph.D. and Karl Emmanuel V. Ruiz retrace the history behind the federalism advocacy in their research paper to what it has evolved to today. They opine that the discourse be framed in relation to decentralization. Dr. Brillantes is a Fellow of the Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance Fellow, the partner of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in the program, “Increasing Public Awareness on the Federal System of Government.”


Whether the Philippines chooses to adopt or reject federalism, as has been advocated by several sectors over the past decade, should not distract from what we believe should be the ultimate target for adopting a federal form of government in the Philippines: to deepen decentralization and empower subnational governments. 

This study contributes to the literature regarding federalism’s characteristics and forms that the Philippines may choose. The first section of this study will analyze the federalism discourse in the country. Second, it will also delve into federalism as a politico-administrative instrument for “development” to hopefully end the conflict in Mindanao. Also, the continuing issues and concerns about federalism in the Philippine context will be discussed. Lastly, this paper aims to highlight the importance of keeping federalism discussions alive in the country.

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The opinions and views expressed in this research article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or views of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.