ORMOC CITY -- Actor-sportsman turned Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez minced no words in saying that he is backing the controversial anti-drug policy and the move for federalism of President Rodrigo Duterte amid the backlash the administration has received from numerous sectors.
"President Duterte is doing a good job dito sa Ormoc City. With regards to peace and order, na-attain namin kung ano ang gusto nyang mangyari. Now we are drug-free. Peace and order is our number 1 thrust in our city,” said Gomez over the weekend at the sideline of the country’s first Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne Global Laser-Run City tour hosted by Ormoc.
Gomez, a former nominee of an anti-drug party-list group, said that Duterte's hard stance against drugs has proven to be effective in promoting the tourism and business climate in Ormoc to the outsiders.
He added, however, that Duterte should continue on what he plans to do for the good of the country because "you cannot please everybody."
"Mahirap maging president. You try to do something na sa tingin nya ay maganda, sa iba ay maganda, sa iba ayaw...Mayroon talaga na mag criticize sa kanya (It's hard to be a president. You try to do something that you think is right but others won't like. There will always be criticisms)," he said on Duterte's anti-drug policy.
He also said that he supports Duterte's plan to shift to a federal system of government.
He warned though that what the country needs is a "hybrid" type of federalism, stressing "American mode" is not suitable for the Filipinos.
"We have to think and analyze, because maraming klase ang federalism eh. I was one of the mayors na pinadala sa Washington para pag-aralan ang federalism. I can say na ang American mode is not for us. We really have to choose what kind of mode of federalism ang kailangan nating pasukin," Gomez said.
"Siguro iyong federalism ay maging mahirap sa mga mahihirap na lugar," he added, citing Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Southern Tagalog, and Cebu could be placed under a federal government.
"Iyong CAR [Cordellira Administrative Region] at Armm [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] ay sila autonomous na sila, so sa aking opinion baka ito muna ang puwede unahin na mag-federalism," he said.
"Iyong mahihirap na lugar, for example, iyong Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) and other regions na hindi pa masyadong kaya, puwede ipagpatuloy natin na nandoon tayo nakasabay sa national. But the big ones, they can do their own federalism," Gomez added.
He, however, maintained that in his idea of a "hybrid" type of federalism, the country will continue to have a unitary law under one Constitution.
"Iyong mode nya kung papaano papatakbuhin ang gobyerno, iyon ang babaguhin. Pero iyong paano ang pagpapatakbo ng batas, iyon ang masusunod. Mayroon tayong isang Constitution na sinusuond," Gomez said.
A 20-person consultative committee tasked by Duterte to review and recommend possible amendments to the 1987 Constitution has opted a presidential-federal form of government under a federalized Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)