Before the Mindanao Women Leaders Peace Forum, PUBLiCUS Founder/CEO, Malou Tiquia, challenged women leaders to get involved in the debate revising the Philippine constitution. “I am for federalist and parliament Philippines, enough of unitary, centrist Philippines. We will not be able to leapfrog to the future if our politics is too extractive.”
If women were to write the constitution, Tiquia averred, it will be process oriented than product defined. “When women are involved, we are able to advance provisions for more equitable and inclusive societies; we broaden societal participation, helping cement the social contract; we bridge divides in the negotiating process and we advance consensus on key issues.” Crafting the constitution “should not be limited to closed-door policy meetings by government officials and policy makers. Juan and Maria have stakes but we need to keep in mind that it should be simple and short, it should be substantive and nor procedural and it should implement the much needed change.”
Tiquia talked about the thirty (30) years of the 1987 Constitution, the Local Government Code and the autonomous acts in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera, the realities on the ground, lopsided pie in terms of income, allocations and budgets. “Any draft of a PH constitution need to respond to key issues: recognition of indigenous people, subsidiarity, liberalization of the economy and correcting the costs of governance from the national to the local levels.
“Instead of looking at costs and mind you, what the economic managers are saying is a huge variance, we should look at efficiency gains and expected reduction of leakages if we go federal. Enough with instilling fears and the unknowns. We know what got us here and we know how to solve the issues for these are all man-made. When we talk of resource/asset mapping on a provincial level, Filipinos are not poor. We think poor because we were made to believe we are poor. And that is the generational point we need to break.”
Challenging the participants further, “imagine if each household talks about what we need, what we have and how we can get from point one to point two, we can move this nation. And only women can make P500 meet the daily needs of a family, right?”
Tiquia is one of the leading voices on a federal-parliament shift. She is one of the two lead convenors of the People’s Draft, a ten-page constitution that was drafted by civil society partners, made available online for crowdsourcing for thirty (30) days. “It is a People’s Draft, short, simple, easy to read and easy to implement. Why craft a 200-page document that Filipinos will not read? Why make it intricate when there is parliament who would do the work in terms of enactment? Why make it convoluted when the needs are basic? Sometimes, in the process of amending/revising, we create more problems harder to deal with.”
The forum was a Mindanao-wide consultation organized by the National Defense College of the Philippines-Philippine Center of Excellence in Defense, Development and Security