Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bayanko, vehicle of protest on social media

Bayanko, is a social media vehicle of protest on Facebook. Its administrators realize that they needed the help of the religious and the military, the only two groups organized with a nationwide reach to pursue their goal. The movement's case is to shift the Philippines from a presidential system to a parliamentary federal form of government.

For Bayanko, a parliamentary federal system will allow the marginalized sectors like labor, women, farmers, urban poor of our society to be amply represented in the decision-making process. As an example, civil service and the military whose officials retire in their mid-50s or early 60s when they are at the peak of experience and skills can, by lowering the cost of running for public office, run for parliament. 

Columnist Carmen Pedrosa, who is at the forefront of Bayanko, recently wrote:

We agreed that we had to have a civil authority in place before the military (the principled members and leaders) could come in as mandated by the Constitution to protect the state as the civic authority. It will govern with revolutionary powers to enable the people to create a new system of government. That civic authority was the National Transformation Council

Bayanko made a crucial presentation of the movement last week. The one-hour session that included questions and answers and a discussion was made before the executive committee of the 8,500-strong Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association at Camp Aguinaldo.
We had to balance information the group needed to be informed about as clearly as possible while at the same time respecting their loyalty to their military role in government.
It was an extremely delicate task but it needed to be done. Bayanko adviser Jose Alejandrino and this columnist were invited to present the movement’s case to shift the Philippines to a parliamentary federal form of government. There were five reasons.
* * *
The most important and obvious reason for the shift was the debilitating corruption because of the high cost of campaigning for public office under the presidential system we have at present.It takes at least P2 billion to run for president and P200 million to run for senator. Under a parliamentary system, one only needs to be elected in a district to become prime minister. This means getting 100,000 votes as opposed to 40 million votes nationwide.Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
* * *
Secondly, under a parliamentary system, all members of the Cabinet are accountable. One cannot be a cabinet minister without being a member of Parliament. Under the present system, a president may appoint and delegate full or partial powers to a cabinet member who is not accountable to the people but to the president. This opens the door to abuses of power by an unscrupulous cabinet minister. (This opened the door to the scandalous DAP and PDAF thievery that remain unresolved),
* * *
Thirdly, an abusive president can only be removed through impeachment. This is a long and tedious process that is near impossible. In a parliamentary system, an abusive prime-minister can be removed by a simple vote of loss of confidence.
* * *
Fourthly, the current presidential system promotes the growth of political dynasties. Money rather than meritocracy decides who are elected to the presidency or Senate. Not surprisingly, personalities and celebrities are more important than programs and issues.
As a result, Congress today no longer represents their constituencies but their families. A 2014 study by Julio Teehankee, college dean of La Salle University, shows 178 family dynasties rule 73 of 80 provinces. Another 2014 study by Ronald Mendoza, director of the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center, shows 75% of the members of Congress and 80% of governors and mayors belong to political dynasties.
* * *
Lastly, a parliamentary federal form of government will mean a greater devolution of powers in taxation, education, healthcare, housing. This allows the smaller constituencies to shape their own destiny.

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