BERLINIZED VS. BALKANIZED

Opinion

By Ike Señeres

There was a documentary film titled “Berlinized” which showed the western and eastern side of the divided city, depicting it as a parallel universe that coexisted with each other, without necessarily becoming one. At least not yet at the time the film was made. As of now, “Berlinized” has not yet become a word that has entered the English language, but I now propose to whoever is listening out there that it should be accepted as a word to mean the fusion or combination of two parallel cultures or territories, in effect becoming the opposite or the antonym of the word “balkanized”, the latter meaning the breaking up of territories, possibly resulting in the emergence of two or more distinct cultures.

Regardless of whether you accept the entry of the word “balkanized” into the English language, that is the word that I would prefer to use in describing the existing reality in some of our cabinet level Departments, wherein there is practically no coordination or communication between and among their own organic bureaus and attached agencies. There is really no need to name these Departments, because it is very well known who they are and what they are. What is even more unproductive is the lack of coordination or communication between and among these Departments, even if their mandates would overlap or crossover from one scope to another. There is no need to name names, but vehicle emissions would definitely affect the environment, and the planting of trees would eventually increase our water supplies.

Maybe it is just pure coincidence, but the genre of political science that became known as “linkage politics” emerged at about the same time that the term “Balkanized” also emerged, although there is actually no direct correlation between the two. However, it could be said that the politics of two or more chop chopped states could possibly co-exist and survive along with each other, possibly even as adjacent parallel universes. If this can happen between and among sovereign states, I do not see why it could not happen between and among bureaus and agencies that are practically linked to each other under one Department. Same goes for two or more Departments that are practically linked to each other under one Cabinet.

In this time and age of social networking sites (SNS), I really wonder how and why young kids can communicate with, and coordinate with each other so easily by using these sites, but the government people who are supposed to be older and wiser people could not do it among themselves. As I see it however, it is not so much because they are unwilling; it is just that they are unable to because of the lack of the means to do so. Of course, part of their concern is data security and data privacy, two imperatives that they could not take lightly. Add to that the problem of connectivity, because without that, they also could not communicate.

As everyone talks about federalism, I could not help but notice that there is something lacking in that yearning, and I think that that is no other than the parliamentary system. Federalism is simply organizing the jurisdictions within the State, but it does not necessarily answer the question of how to run the affairs of the State. As I see it, the parliamentary system is the one that should run these affairs, combining both executive and legislative functions into one chamber. Instead of Balkanizing these two functions, there will be a deliberate decision to “Berlinize” the two so that the walls would tumble down and both sides of the wall would become one.

Somehow, I could see the logic of allowing those who make the laws to implement these as well. To me, that almost sounds like “putting your money where your mouth is”. One way or the other, I think that would prevent not only finger pointing, but blame throwing as well. Somehow, I could not really imagine the members of the parliament to investigate themselves for their own actions, not unless the opposition would keep badgering them for that. Unknown to many people however, we do have a Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) where the legislative and the executive are supposed to meet regularly the development oriented agenda items.

Whether it is within Departments, across the Departments or it is between the legislative and the executive branches, there is now a free downloadable mobile app (www.we.cards) that anyone could use to create a digital business card and an organization directory that Bureaus, Agencies, Departments and branches of government could use to find each other and to communicate with each other. Never mind if there are physical walls that would seal of one side from the other, because those who want to virtually break down these walls could now communicate with, coordinate with, and collaborate with each other. If in the past, people would find excuses not to be able to contact each other, those days are now gone with WeCards.

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