A leader of a pro-federalism group on Saturday claimed that Rodrigo Duterte's election as President in 2016 is a clear signal that the Filipino people support federalism, noting that to push for it under a different president would be impossible.
"Ang aming pananaw, ang paghalal sa kaniya (Pangulong Duterte) ng taumbayan ay maliwanag na suporta sa kaniyang panukala na baguhin ang sistema mula sa unitary o iisang pambansang gobyerno patungo sa isang federal government," People's National Movement for Federalism (PENAMFED) National President and former Quezon City 2nd district congressman Dante Liban said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.
"Ito ay mahirap nang mangyari 'pag iba na ang pangulo natin," he added.
Liban claimed that the advocacy for a federal form of government has long been a discourse throughout Philippine history, and some Philippine heroes had advocated for it.
"Ang mismong ang dakilang bayaning si Dr. Jose Rizal ay naisip niya na iyang panukalang federal. Tapos si Pangulong Emilio Aguinaldo isinusulong na rin nila 'yan kasama sila Mabini at iba pang mga bayani."
The discourse on federalism had also emerged in the Visayas, particularly in Negros and Iloilo before the Treaty of Paris, and in Mindanao as well, said Liban.
"Kaya si Pangulong Duterte ang kaniyang kampanya noong 2016 ay panahon na baguhin ang sistema para talagang magkaisa ang bansa," the PENAMFED president said.
Liban cited the decades-long conflict in Mindanao, the underdevelopment of cities in other parts of the Philippines, issues of graft and corruption by public officials, and political dynasties as problems that can be addressed by federalism.
Under federalism, corruption of public officials can be addressed immediately, and that the Filipino people will have the opportunity to lead their local region.
"Alam mo si Pangulong Duterte, talagang personal niyang naranasan ang problema ng kasalukuyang gobyerno, a unitary system of government."
Liban said he is convinced that Duterte is sincere in his push for federalism.
Pres. Duterte's Victory, is a Sign of People's Support for Federalism
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent