Leni Robredo’s “understanding” of decentralization elicits free lesson from international relations expert on Facebook

In case you missed it, Leni Robredo gave a pep talk, if you will, during an online event for the FB group created solely for the purpose of Leni Robredo’s presidential bid for the 2022 polls.

As you can see in the screengrab photo below, Leni was talking about Decentralization and Empowering People to her online audience.

According to the subtext of Leni’s speech, the Vice President said that if you decentralize the government, she wants it in such a way that decentralization does not give more powers to the local politicians.

That part of Leni’s speech raised the eyebrows of international relations expert Sass Rogando Sasot, prompting the Netherlands-based blogger to give Leni Robredo a free lecture on Decentralization.

You may read the full FB post below now.

Mama Leni, here’s a lesson on power. Centralisation = power concentrates at the center. Decentralise = power moves away from the center. Simple math: if power is 5, in an extremely centralised structure, 5 belongs to the center, while zero outside of it. When you decentralise, you subtract from 5 and give it to somebody else.

The extreme form of centralisation is dictatorship, while the extreme form of decentralisation is anarchy. Iyang giving more power to the people is good on paper. But as realists know so well, the people are unequal and those that have more – money, strength, brains – will naturally dominate. It’s government’s duty to ensure that this natural power asymmetry doesn’t destroy the fabric of society. So we give up our personal sovereignty to the government and that means giving up some of our personal powers in exchange of social goods, chief of which is order and security.

You cannot decentralize without moving power from the center towards somewhere else. But the thing about power is it comes with responsibility. Less power = less responsibility. So giving more power to local politicians means giving them more responsibility. Decentralization mean enlarging the areas of responsibilities of local politicians. And you cannot successfully fulfill those responsibilities if you don’t have more power. If you want to give more power to the people, you have to give them more responsibilities. So which responsibilities, that politicians are duty bound to fulfill, that you want to give more to people away from those who govern — paying for their own healthcare? ensuring their security? creating their own roads? managing the airports? planning the economy? which responsibility of those who govern you would like to distribute to people? Or do you want a government that interferes less over lives of citizens like what libertarians want?


Source: For the Motherland – Sass Rogando Sasot

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