PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Friday that he will not push for federalism if the entire Filipino people would not accept such kind of government.
“I foresee that towards the end of the year, we’ll be able to come up with the framework on how to establish federalism. But if the Filipino nation and the plebiscite would not want it, then I am ready to concede,” the President said in his speech during the Muslim Hariraya Eid’l Fitr event held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
Duterte has sought the establishment of federal government from the current unitary form of government, saying it would be an alternative to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which was not passed in the 16th Congress.
The President believed that federalism would help address the “unfair” distribution of funds between the local government and national government.
He also said that the federal form of government would bring peace and order in Mindanao.
If federal government is not the solution, Duterte said he would make sure that the proposed Moro law that was stalled will be passed in the 17th Congress.
Duterte then reiterated that his administration is doing its best to have a successful talks with the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“The (draft) BBL Law, we will see to it that it will pass,” the President said. “If there’s no federalism, if the rest of the country will not favor it, well then, I said, what you give to the MI must be given to MN. I hope that we can have peace in the land.”
The President also asked the Bangsamoro people to give him the chance to make a successful arrangements with the rebel groups so he could eventually bring about peace and order in the embattled Mindanao.
“I’m working overtime to convince you. We are ready to convince you. And our group in the government is ready to talk to MI and MN… There is a temporary lull in the violence in Mindanao. Give me a chance to perfect an arrangement,” Duterte said.
While he acknowledged that bringing peace in Mindanao cannot be done “overnight,” Duterte promised to end the sufferings in the region during his term.
“It will not come overnight. Certanly, it will not come next year. Probably, it will be something about two to three years from now. But I assure you that something will change before I end my term,” the President said.
“A promise is a promise. My word of honor is something I value very much. So when I say something, that’s it and I will do it. So these are things that we have to work with on our aspirations,” he added. (Sunnex)