President Rodrigo Duterte urged over a hundred village leaders to vote for a Federal form of government when it will be presented to a plebiscite, probably three years from now.
Speaking before 182 barangay captains and over a hundred kagawads from the three districts here on Tuesday night’s gift giving at Davao City Recreation Center, the President said a Federal government is the answer to the decades-old problem in Mindanao.
“Mao ni ang gusto sa Moro. Mao pud ni ang gusto nako ihatag sa ila (This is what the Moro wants. This is also what I want to give them),” Mr. Duterte said, adding that it would be a salvation for the Philippines when all Filipinos, whether they are Muslims or Christians, will understand one another.
His administration is targeting a year’s time when Congress can pass a law on Federal government; then, if successful, it will be submitted to a plebiscite by 2018.
“I am urging Filipinos to go for it because it will give us peace,” he said.
Mr. Duterte further announced he will form a commission to go around the country to consult and gather information for the crafting of a Federal form of government.
Once everything is in place and there are calls for an election of officials, the President assured he is ready to step down, citing the 1987 Constitution that prohibits a president to seek reelection.
“I will give you my word today,” he said, emphasizing on the good values instilled in him by his parents.
As he leads a campaign for a Federal government, the President also brushed aside speculations he would seek another presidency.
“Do not worry. I have no ambition (to remain president) at all. I guarantee that I will step down and retire. Dili ko pareho sa inyo suspetyoso og hangol sa kwarta (I am not too suspicious and selfish for money. I was not raised that way,” he said.
In his mind, the president of a Federal government should only be given few powers like authority to dissolve a Federal Parliament, provide the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
But he urged local leaders to vote for a good and strong president. “We need a strong president,” he said.
Mr. Duterte said his thrust is always for the protection of the country’s progress for the future of the young generation.