LIBERAL Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II downplayed Monday claims that federalism is the solution to the more than five decades of secessionist insurgency in Mindanao.

During his campaign rally at the Manila Islamic Center in Quiapo district, Roxas said that the country will have difficulty adapting to the federal form of government, which Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is proposing should he win the presidency in the May polls.

Roxas explained that if federalism will be imposed in the future, the Filipinos should expect another "layer of taxes."

"Ang federalism is another layer of taxes. Kung gusto ninyo ng mas dagdag na buwis, federalism ang inyong pipiliin. Bakit? Tignan n'yo lahat ng federal states. US may federal income tax at state income tax. Sa Malaysia (din ay ganun). Lahat ng mga federal systems meron buwis na pang-nasiyonal at meron buwis na pang-lokal," said Roxas.

He said that the Aquino administration was able to allot almost P260 billion of infrastructure and other government-funded projects in Mindanao without resorting to a federal shift.

The administration candidate said that under the Daang Matuwid program, the government was able to deliver the much-needed projects for Mindanao in less than five years compared to the P125 billion during the combined terms of the Estrada and Arroyo governments.

"Sa Mindanao, itong nakaraang limang taon, mahigit P260 billion ang mga projects… that is two times the last 12 years, sa 12 years (na pamamahala, combined) ni Pangulong (Gloria) Arroyo at Pangulong Erap (Joseph Estrada)," said Roxas.

Roxas said that federalism is not the solution for Mindanao to catch up with other regions in the country.

He said that the more appropriate program for the entire region is the expanded Bottoms-up Budgeting scheme since all the barangays will directly get their much needed share from the national government.

"Ang ating BuB-plus… sa lahat ng barangay, sa lahat ng bayan sa Pilipinas (ay) magkakaroon ng developmental money… para lalong gumanda hindi lang yung ekonomiyang pang-nasiyunal, kundi pati ang pang local na ang katumbas niyan ay pera sa bulsang bawat mamamayang Pilipino," said Roxas.

Roxas also said that he will support the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) if he wins in the upcoming elections to prevent the spread of the global jihad extremism in the country.

"Kaya kailangang agapan natin ito, bigyan natin ng kumbaga pagsingaw o bigyan natin ng daan para itong mga hinaing, itong mga matagal nang dinadaing ng ating mga kababayan ay nabibigyan ng tugon at hindi mapunta sa bombahan o sa terorismo," said Roxas. (Sunnex)