Pili, Camarines Sur
October 17, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the Federalism Summit and oath-taking ceremony of some 6,000 new members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) at the Capitol Convention Center in Pili, Camarines Sur.
Joined by officers of the Federalismo Alyansa ng Bicol (FAB), the President underscored the importance of installing a federal form of government to replace the existing unitary type of government, which he said was inherited from the Spanish colonization and is now outdated.
“Tayo na lang ang unitary type. We can have a President and have a federal set-up. As a matter of fact, I would advise a strong President, while we are still in the formative stage ng federalism,” he said.
He added that there are various models to copy from, such as the pure parliamentary government of France and England, and in other neighboring Asian countries like Indonesia and Singapore. Likewise, he warned that the absence of federalism would lead to the continuance of armed conflict in Mindanao that could attract other extremist groups to unite.
“Itong Federalism… pag hindi ito matuloy or any change that would modify the present structure, which is really an unfair set-up, it will lead into trouble again sa Mindanao,” President Duterte said.
Likewise, he cleared that the conflict with the Maute group is a special case that does not involve a territorial claim. According to him, what fuelled the rebellion was the government’s anti-drug campaign, of which the Maute group was the biggest crystal meth distributor in Mindanao.
In closing, the President cited several perks under a federal form of government that include bigger tax cut for local government at 70%, of which the remaining percentage will go to national defense and upkeep. He added that he would be waiting for further discussions on the kind of model the FAB decides on.
Swearing in under the PDP-Laban were incumbent regional, provincial, city/municipal, and barangay officials in the province of Camarines Sur. Officers of the Federalismo Alyansa ng Bicol (FAB) and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) were also present during the event.
* * *