President Duterte leads oath taking of federalism advocates, pushes for end to unitary setup, 13 Dec. 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte led the oath-taking Monday of the officials of People’s National Movement to Federalism Advocacy (PENAMFED) encouraging them to immediately work on a strong federal system of government, which he said would solve the country’s problems particularly Mindanao separatism.

“I’d like to thank you for showing the interest and keeping alive the spirit of federalism,” the President said in his speech during the event.

“There can never be peace especially in Mindanao if you do not grant them a certain amount of — much more than just a local autonomy,” he added.

Muslim Filipinos are already receptive of the federal system of government, he said noting the country must take advantage of it and end the unitary form of government.

The President said he wanted a three-year timeline in having a law that will pave the way to federalism in the Philippines. He said he is willing to step down and oversee a clean and honest election as long as lawmakers and federalism advocates craft such set up.

He brushed off accusations that he wants to perpetuate himself in power.

Under the current system, Duterte said the election of a Philippine president is controlled by the moneyed elites to sustain their interests.

He has less political baggage, he said, compared to other candidates.

In the case of Mindanao, he said territories there are ruled by powerful political clans through money and private armies also lamenting that illegal drugs have also crept into the system.

Manila-based political leaders support these warlords during elections, exacerbating the situation calling it as some of the “injustices” under the unitary type of government.

“But then, sabi ko sa inyo, unless we break this monopoly and money and guns. Wala. We will remain in the rot of things,” the President said.###PND