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[av_heading heading=’FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY ‘ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=’subheading_below’ subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=”]
BY IKE SEÑERES
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WIKIPEDIA says subsidiarity as “an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority”, and it also says that “political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority.”
While these definitions would appear to be accurate, I prefer the way subsidiarity is defined in computer language, and that is to “subdivide a problem into many manageable parts.” Using that definition, software developers are able to produce large software applications with millions of codes, by assigning the tasks of programming parts of it to several hundreds of software programmers who are writing codes independently of each other.
In a manner of speaking, it could be said that the Philippines is actually a federation of 42, 046 republics that are also known as barangays. Following the principle of subsidiarity, it would seemingly be best to allow these barangays to make political decisions at their level, being the lowest level of local governance, or as it is usually said, being the smallest political unit of governance in the Philippines.
For all intents and purposes, it could be said that the barangays are the “smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority” in the Philippines. For the record, that is not a mere advocacy so to speak, because that is what the law provides, as stated in the Local Government Code (LGC).
In reality, subsidiarity is actually the primary ideology of the Christian Democratic Movement (CDM), now sometimes identified as the Centrist Democratic Movement (also CDM). At other times, it is also identified as the Christian Moslem Democratic Movement (CMDM). It seems that the shift to the Centrist name is not only an attempt to remove the religious color in the movement, but it is also to emphasize that it is neither leftist nor rightist.
By doing that however, it seems to be sending the wrong signal that it now favors having a centralized government, as opposed to a government that support the idea of making political decisions at the local levels, rather than at the central authority.
Also in reality, the advocacy of CDM is not limited to making political decisions, because in a general sense, “matters”, would and should also include social, economic and technical decisions. In other words, the theory is to empower and enable the lowest decentralized authority, (being the barangay unit) to run its own affairs with the least intervention of the highest centralized authority.
Off and on, some remnants of the old movement would present themselves as the political party that not only carries the ideology but also owns the name, but so far, not one of them seem to have formed the critical mass for them to substantiate their claims. One or two mainstream parties would also claim to espouse the ideology, but their behavior appears to be otherwise.
As it is supposed to be, political parties are not supposed to get involved in barangay elections, but that should not stop individuals in all barangays to campaign for the candidates whom they believe in. As it usually happens, groups of people would field their own “teams” during the barangay elections, again supposedly not representing any political party.
It may just be a matter of semantics, but again I would say that local people who believe in an ideology such as Christian Democracy should be free to field their own “teams” without necessarily referring to their team as a political party. Having such an ideologically based “team” would be better than any other “team” that is ideologically barren.
As it is supposed to be, the “teams” that would run in the barangay elections are supposed to have their own political platforms, an expectation that would really be difficult to meet if they would not have an ideology. For practical reasons however, perhaps they could just adopt the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as their political platform.
More often than not, these local “teams” would promise programs and projects that are already embedded in the SDGs, such as education, healthcare and livelihood. It is not usual for these local to promise certain statistical targets, but perhaps it is about time that they start doing so.
Going back to the LGC, it already contains practically everything that a barangay needs in order to succeed as a corporate entity. Yes, Virginia, a barangay could actually function like a corporation, because it could do everything that a corporation could do, including to go into a joint venture or to borrow money, among others.
Yes, Virginia, it does not even need emergency powers, because it already has all the powers that it would ever need. Despite all its powers, it still needs to harness people power, meaning the power of the people to assert their democratic rights and to fulfill their democratic duties. The LGC has been in place for many years, it is now up to the local people to take advantage of it./PN