Pili, Camarines Sur – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, October 17, led the Federalism Summit here and told Bicol’s leaders to launch discussions of federalism in the communities.
The Chief Executive also led the oath taking of new members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
“I encourage all of the Bicolano local leaders to begin discussions on Federalism in your communities, even as you strengthen the efforts against illegal drugs, crime, and corruption,” the Chief Executive said in his speech.
The President underscored that the October 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections were postponed in a bid to prevent illegal drugs and criminal syndicates from influencing the local elections.
“It is my hope that you will do everything to prevent these menaces from contaminating and taking root in your areas,” Duterte said.
“It is our vision to create a system of government that will give lasting peace, progress, and prosperity for all of our peoples,” he added as he called on the beginning of the process of transformation that would usher in a “better Philippines for ourselves and the future generations.”
According to the President, failure to shift to federalism will result in difficulties in Mindanao.
“Now, itong federalism is… Ito magprangka ako ha. ‘Pag hindi ito natuloy or any change that would modify the present structure, which is really an unfair set-up, it will lead into a trouble again sa Mindanao,” he said.
“Kasi itong unitary type of government vis-à-vis federal type, this is the setup of the Spaniards. Tayo na lang ang nagpaiwan sa Asia from Indonesia to Malaysia to Australia to Singapore, to Japan, Korea, tayo na lang ang unitary type. We can have a president under a federal setup,” the President said.
In addition, President Duterte said he would advise a strong President while the country is still in the formative stage of federalism.
“Kung saan na lang tayo, it will be easy if we agree na mag-federal tayo. Kapag hindi, talagang sasabog ‘to because then, I would predict that the MI, MN would now join with everybody… and there are aplenty ang armas,” the President explained.
In the same speech, President Duterte also discussed the public utility jeepney (PUJ) modernization program, noting that there are things that the law mandates because it is good for the country and for the people.
“I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines and I have to… Hindi akin ‘yan. Batas ‘yan. That is not mine,” he said.
“And the fact that we have to get up on, you know -kasi you’re not up to it. You have to get to do things the way that this government wants you to do,” he said.
The President noted that PUJs need a facelift, noting that the lives of the riding public are at stake.
“Unang-una space, dilapidated, walang mga metro, walang kilometer speed, wala lahat. Sometimes, maraming nadisgrasya, sabihin lang, karamihan ng disgrasya, ‘Sir, pumalpak ‘yung break,'” he noted.
“You know the machines, the engines that run, itong mga PUJ are about 20, 25 years old. We got it from the other countries, ‘yung reconditioned ipinagbibili dito,” he said.
“If we fail, it means more money for lung cancers and for respiratory diseases. Mga anak natin maging bobo ‘yan. Standstill ang traffic, it does not move and all the time people of the Philippines are inhaling the fumes,” he added. ###PND