Throughout The Philippines, debates on the benefits that would be derived from a parliamentary rather than a strong presidential political system continue to be held. But as the old expression says – sometimes it is better to show rather than to tell. Because of this, it would be beneficial for pro-parliamentary activists to set up a “model parliament” where Filipinos of many political persuasions are able to appear before a mock-up parliamentary chamber and conduct debates and votes on current issues facing The Philippines, just as an official parliament would do.
Because the aim of such an experiment is to show how a parliament would function on a day to day basis, an un-scientific vote for political parties conducted via social media could take place and then volunteer members of such a parliament would take their seats according to the online vote and begin debating on all of the main issues of the day ranging from relations with China and the United States to domestic economic reforms, flood prevention, the Smartmatic scandal and any other issues of present importance.
While showing videos of foreign parliaments is a helpful way to learn about the general atmosphere and standard of debate in such systems, perhaps one of the reasons that the message hasn’t yet become as clear is it ought to is because when it comes to Filipinos listening to discussions on issues concerning The Philippines, they are stuck with the present day Congress in all of its inefficient “glory”.
Organisations like youth parliaments and model United Nations groups already exist across the globe, therefore there is no reason why a model Philippine parliament could not be put together and filmed so that people could see what Filipinos debating and voting on contemporary issues in Philippine politics would look and sound like in the context of a parliamentary assembly.
Assuming that enough people would be willing to volunteer to sit before such a model parliamentenough times to get a reasonable amount of videoed material that is accurately demonstrative of how such a parliament could function, such an initiative could be put together in a relatively quick period of time.
It sometimes takes a large videoed “stunt” to force ordinary people to become engaged in politics as was recently proved by the fact that a controversial but ultimately light-hearted video about federalism posted by Mocha Uson led to a deluge of debates on the benefits of federalism that had previously been restrained by the fact that there wasn’t a talking point around which such a debate could begin.
While the idea of a model parliament may seem rather weighty, the nature of many parliamentary debates across the globe is highly impassioned and at times even humorous. If such a mentality could be cultivated in a model parliament for The Philippines, not only would it help to make more people aware of how a parliamentary system would function in the country, but it would help to make politics more interesting to the average viewer just as in the real world, parliamentary debates are typically more robust and direct than those which take place in the legislative chambers in strong presidential systems.
Below is a video produced by Orion Perez of the Correct Movement detailing the benefits of a parliamentary system to The Philippines.