About 600 advocates of a federal form of government gathered in a summit in Davao City to push the concept seen as Mindanao’s ticket to peace and progress.
The summit organized by Davao City Mayor Duterte was attended by top Mindanao political leaders, including from the Visayas and Luzon where a shift to federalism is also gathering steam,
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, right, calls on delegates to form a solid force espousing federalism, while Reuben Canoy, one of the earliest movers of Mindanao federalism, details the history of the federal movement and the ills of a unitary form of governance.
The historic December 1, 2014 gathering at the Grand Men Seng Hotel was also joined by various groups of stakeholders.
“I am calling on all responsible leaders in the island from government and civil society organizations, business, church, academe, military, indigenous peoples, youth/student and other stakeholders to tackle the possibility of pushing federalism as a viable alternative to the prevailing antiquated system, to effect meaningful political and social changes particularly in Mindanao and the country in general, ” said Duterte in announcing the holding of the one-day summit.
The summit, according to Duterte, will hope to gather strong support to federalism as a solid force and strong argument to shift the form of government from unitary to parliamentary.
We aim to “forge a well-informed united front tasked to craft a collective plan of action on what is perceived as an arduous and long quest for Mindanao’s true identity reflective of its various tribes and peoples’ wishes and aspirations,” said Duterte.
A seven-man panel of reactors are expected to inject fuel to discussions on the concept of federalism as an alternative form of governance for Mindanao, Davao City Information Officer Leo Villareal earlier said of the summit.
The reactors are former President Fidel V. Ramos, Msgr. Fernando Capalla, Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel Tabora, student leader Krista Iris Melgarejo, Severino Magbuo of the Indigenous People, former AFP Chief of Staff retired Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, businessman Paul Dominguez, and a constitutionalist.
Topping the list of invited participants are the governors, vice governors, congressmen, city and municipal mayors in Mindanao including those from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).
Governors Joey Salceda of Albay and Jose Pepito Alvarez of Palawan were also invited by Duterte and so with Congresswoman Lenny Robredo, the heads of the Municipal Mayors’ League, Vice Mayors’ League, Councilors’ League, and League of Barangays in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
From the religious sector, 24 Mindanao bishops headed by Bishop Capalla were invited, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, Muslim religious leaders led by Aleem Mahmod Mala Adilao, Shiek Aleem Pasigan, and other 8 religious leaders.
Muslim leaders in the list were lawyer Randolf Parcasio, Prof. Moner Bajunaid, and Amina Razul.
Non-government organizations, Gabriela party-list, UP Mindanao student council, transport, labor and the urban poor groups will be represented in the summit.
The Chamber of Commerce in Davao and other areas in Mindanao, Philippine Banana Exporters Association, Miners Association, Tuna Exporters Association, and those in construction business who will represent the business sector were likewise invited to attend.