The UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (CIDS) conducted the first of a series of round table discussions on federalism titled “Federalism: Facts, Myths, Opportunities, and Challenges” held at the Board of Regents Room in Quezon Hall, UP Diliman last August 4, 2016.
The series of 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.
Wolfgang Heinze of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and Dr. Suresh Kumar of the Embassy of India, Manila joined the discussion and provided key concepts and mechanisms, historical backgrounds, and indigenous experiences of federalism and federalization of Germany and India, respectively.
Also in attendance were representatives from the academe, government, and civil society organizations.
Heinze presented the history and current form of Germany’s federal system plus the reforms made to address administrative problems. He said that the aim of such system was to prevent the emergence of another autocrat; moreover, he emphasized that people and institutions matter in the formation of a federalist system.
Kumar began by stating the commonalities between India and the Philippines, especially the colonial experience of both nations. He then continued to discuss how the Indian Constitution came to be and its unitary features in detail, like the judiciary, public services, and appointments of top officials.
An open forum followed after Heinze’s and Kumar’s presentations where participants asked questions and shared insights on different topics such as the dynamics of political parties and parliamentary systems, land borders and land use planning, and trade and industry facilitation.