Rational Technology for July 23, 2005
There's nothing particularly new about the idea of a separate Visayas Republic. It's an idea that I've frequently discussed with my friends from Cebu. Invariably, the discussion starts with how much of a mess Metro Manila is, especially with dem grubby politicians. We talk about how much better Cebu and the other provinces would be if, instead of directing our taxes to the national, presumably lining bottomless pockets of congressmen, they could be channeled into local development instead. And on we rant, all the while chugging our beer and downing our sisig. Come the end of it all, we drink one last toast to our motherland the Visayas and stagger on home.
Enlightened by the same otherworldly inspiration that prompted our beloved President to go back on her word -- este, change her mind -- about forswearing electoral ambitions two Christmases past, a group of esteemed governors have banded together and promptly adopted the idea of the Visayas Republic. What can I say? In vino veritas!
Since it is the finest legal minds and elected leaders of the united provinces who are bandying the idea and not a group of drunken friends, we should look at the mechanics of secession in earnest. And who better to be your guide than yours truly who has concocted the perfect plan over several years of besotted frustration?
At the heart of it, the act of secession necessarily involves the creation of a new state. So the first step is also necessarily the creation and ratification of a new constitution. Now, constitutions, as we all know, are notoriously difficult to write, involving a lot of legal ledgerdemain, public consultations, correspondence with international law, and other what-not. Ordinarily, it would take at least two years to put together this new constitution, but hey! we're from the Visayas, so it should take us no more than a fortnight to draft and pass it. In fact, it should take less than a week, assuming that all the constituents imbibe in the process liberally.
Thus written, we will then serve notice to the standing government of the Republic of the Philippines of our intention, backed up by our new constitution. Simultaneously, we should also inform the appropriate agencies and representatives of the United Nations of the formation of our new state. Naturally they will take none too kindly to this brazen deed, and understandably so: the democratic world is notoriously averse to secession. Their lawyers will throw up high-faluting concepts like remedial rights and primary rights and ascriptivist and plebiscitary theories. A few drinks here and there, though, and we should smooth those details over quickly.
New states can be quite fragile so we will also need to prepare for our defense both from external threats as well as internal threats. External threats might come from our future next-door neighbor, the Republic of the Philippines, who will belatedly realize that they should not have cast a jewel such as the Visayas aside. Internal threats might come from the unenlightened citizens who scoff at the idea of secession and who foolishly cling to the fictional notion of the Philippine Islands.
As such, the Visayas Republic should form as quickly as possible a standing army to protect our borders and maintain internal security. The Armed Forces of the Philippines by then would be considered an occupational force and must be removed as quickly as possible, with the exception of progressive officers and troops who resign their commissions. Initially, this will be a transitional army -- and for this, I propose the name Field Army and Navy of the Treaty of Independence to reflect its nature -- composed of reservists, volunteers, and conscripts. Eventually, this will give way to the Visayas Regular Army in due time. Our native security experts, armed with swizzle sticks to assiduously inspect the bags of all travellers crossing our borders, will defend the hundreds of kilometers of coastal waters that will then comprise the islands of the Visayas Republic.
Ah, and the economy. I could write volumes about the conduct of the economy in the newly-formed Visayas Republic which will then be so vibrant without the excess baggage posed by Imperial Manila. While we can wax poetic about the can-do spirit of the people of the Visayas, we would have to face the practical realities of the first stages of the transition. Critical infrastructure such as banks, telecommunications, and manufacturing would have to be nationalized. As much of the gross domestic product will come from export processing zone, it would behoove the new administration to form trade treaties with as quickly as possible. Understandably, the parent companies, based in the possibly hostile Republic of the Philippines, will not take too kindly to this; but that's what we have the VRA for.
But really, what will keep the Visayas Republic afloat, as it does the Republic of the Philippines now, are dollar remittances from Overseas Foreign Workers. And we very well can't have them remitting to the Republic of the Philippines, can we? Cut loose from the tyrannical Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, we will have to form our own central bank bolstered by independent dollar reserves. As a symbol of our new independence (with due respect to our cultural heritage), we can call our new currency, pegged to the dollar, the "pisong tinuod."
And now, one final issue. Who would lead the new country? By now, we would have seen that elections are costly, ineffective, divisive, and just plain more trouble than they are worth. So we will do away with elections altogether and install a monarchy. After all, we already have the living exemplar of a true leader, one who demonstrates elegant statesmanship, steadfast resolution in the face of overwhelming odds, economic acumen, anointed by otherworldly powers, yet at the same time with imbued with the utmost sincerity to say "I'm sorry." So popular is this leader that in the last elections she won by a landslide margin of over one million votes, and that the governors of the Visayas would willingly secede if she were unconstitutionally removed. In her, the Visayas Republic would have a leader that it truly deserved.
Yes, I know, all this sounds fantastic. But who knows? If we leave our fate in the able hands of our present political leaders, this may yet be our future.
Let's all drink to that!