President Rodrigo R. Duterte believes the only way to hasten lagging regional economic zones in the country is the shift from a highly centralized governance to a federal system, his spokesperson said Monday.
“Kaya nga po isinusulong ng Presidente ang pederalismo (That is why the President is pushing for federalism),” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Cagayan de Oro.
“Naniniwala po siya na bagama’t ang ekonomiya ay pangalawang pinakamabilis na lumago sa buong daigdig, hindi pa rin patas po ang paglago ng ating ekonomiya (He believes that although our economy is the second fastest growing in the world, the growth of our economy is still unequal),” he added.
Roque made this remark after Duterte, in a speech in Davao City last Friday, said that “the economy is in the doldrums.”
“Sa (in) Manila, they’re starting on the mega projects well I supposed that they should be doing it on time. Pero sa mga provinces kasi (But in provinces), it’s a doldrums thing,” Duterte said.
According to Roque, Duterte said provinces are still lagging behind Metro Manila and other wealthier regions in terms of implementation of projects.
“Nananawagan pa rin siya talaga na magkaroon ng charter change patungo sa pederalismo dahil ito lang po talaga ang magbibigay ng solusyon doon sa hindi patas na pag-unlad (He is calling for charter change leading to federalism because this will be the only solution to the unequal growth of economies),” Roque said.
Roque, meanwhile, urged Congress, as well as the public, to be supportive of the efforts to shift to federalism.
“Iyan ay panawagan din para sa taong bayan at sa Kongreso na suportahan ang pederalismo ng mawala na po itong bias laban sa mga probinsiya pagdating sa pag-unlad (That’s also his request to the public and the Congress, to support federalism so that this bias against provinces in terms of economic growth will be stopped),” he added.
Roque said Duterte wanted to hasten the implementation of “Build, Build, Build” projects in the provinces.
Duterte’s Consultative Committee (Concom), which is tasked to draft a federal Constitutional, is expected to submit its draft to the President this week, in time for his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)