Local efforts work better: Why federalism looks attractive right now

Photo: Davao City government poster being posted in various parts of the city by local residents

Vital facts about the current spread of COVID 19 force us to pause and rethink the way we do government.

Consider these:

The United States surgeon general said that the fight against COVID 19 is at the community level. All international organizations prescribe “swift policy actions” to curtail the viral spread and put measures in place right now, that can seed future economic recovery.

The locus and epicenter of this fight, where these actions need to take place and bear their effect, is the community, where the virus is spreading, and where recovery must start- the people.

Thus broad governmental strokes and centralized powers must be effective at the level of protecting and sustaining people and communities-and doing it fast before the virus spreads. The needed quick response to the viral pandemic. It is quick action at the local level that works. That’s how a virus is contained.

The is why President Duterte’s Proclamation 922 mandates local action. The state of calamity declaration a week after even more so. The current Philippine constitution grants the president such powers to ensure effective local efforts.

We have effectively become federal states all capacitated by the constitution to work as such.

The challenge moving forward, is how future disruptions like fast spreading pandemics, can be contained quickly at the earliest possible time and will not spread to this magnitude. Can a federal set up work better?  It certainly looks like it.