The UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (CIDS) conducted the third leg of the round table discussion series “Federalism: Facts, Myths, Opportunities, and Challenges” with Fernando Zapico of the Embassy of Spain in Manila. Held at the Board of Regents Room in Quezon Hall, UP Diliman last August 18, 2016, Zapico shared insights on the development, challenges, and experiences of Spain in decentralization.
Zapico’s presentation tackled the different aspects of the highly decentralized political system of Spain. Though Spain is not a federation, the Philippines can still learn lessons from the Spanish model, especially in the dynamics of autonomous states. Among the topics discussed were the historical, political, and cultural motivations behind the decentralization, laws and articles relevant to autonomy, competencies of states, economic matters, and the special cases of Basque Country and Navarra.
Through a table presenting a comparison between the autonomous communities model and the federal model, Zapico said that the former does not allow constituent power but recognizes the statute of autonomy for its laws and the superiority of the constitution. The federal model, on the other hand, recognizes constituent power, relies on the Constitution, and practices distribution of powers.
Zapico emphasized the flexibility and openness of the framework for decentralization and pointed to institutional loyalty, political dialogue, and solidarity as key elements in the creation of the decentralized system.
Participants from Congress, UP, and other organizations inquired Zapico on many topics such as government funding, criteria for creating states, and security measures.
The round table discussions aims to take a closer look on different models of federalist systems to assist in making sound and prudent decisions with regard to Philippine governance. To read about the first discussion, click here; to read about the second, click here.