Cabinet assures federalism push still a priority of Duterte administration
MANILA, Philippines—Despite the admission by President Rodrigo Duterte that federalism may no longer be pushed under his watch, members of his Cabinet on Tuesday have assured that a shift to a federal form of government is still among the priorities of his administration.
Duterte made no mention of federalism and charter change during his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, and in an interview after, he conceded that federalism will not be passed under his presidency.
However, in a post Sona press briefing on Tuesday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he believes that government’s push for federalism will continue in the second half of Duterte’s term.
“Though the President did not mention it yesterday, in one of his talks in Mindanao he mentioned that he’s still for federalism. Ultimately, ito talaga ‘yung solution dito sa ating bansa, the question lang is kung kailan tayo ready,” Año said.
“So tuloy pa rin tayo. Meron tayong inter-agency task force for federalism and Constitutional reforms,” he added.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles added that funds spent on the government’s federalism campaign will not go to waste as he expressed optimism that federalism will have a better fate under the 18th Congress.
“I think it will also be one of the topics to be discussed in the committee on Constitutional amendments both in the House of Representatives pati na sa Senado. I will not be surprised if under the leadership of Speaker (Alan Peter) Cayetano, uusad din po ito sa House of Representatives and hopefully pati sa Senate,” he added.
A shift to a federal form of government was one of Duterte’s campaign promises in the 2016 presidential elections as he believes that federalism would help spur progress throughout the country.
But despite Duterte’s push, the 17th Congress did not prioritize the proposed amendment to the 1987 Constitution. /muf
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