By Manny Pinol
Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte and over 600 delegates declared support for a Federal form of government for the Philippines during the one-day 1st Mindanao Leaders Federalism Summit held at the Grand Men Seng Hotel in Davao City on December 1, 2014.
Citing the inequitable distribution of wealth and resources and the massive corruption in the Central Government, Duterte said the time is right for a shift from a Unitary Presidential form to a Federal Parliamentary system.
He said federalism will also provide a sustainable and long-lasting solution to the Bangsamoro problem in the Southern Philippines which he said could collapse in view of what he feared as rough sailing in the Supreme Court where the Bangsamoro Basic Law could be scrutinized for Constitutional inconsistencies.
Bukidnon Gov. Joe Zubiri, Zambales Gov. Jun Ebdane, Cong. Bebot Bello, Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, former Presidential Peace Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, former Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmena, Anti-crime crusader Dante Jimenez, representatives of both the MNLF and MILF, and other delegates supported the Federalism advocacy which was presented by former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Reuben Canoy.
Cor Jesu College of Law Dean and former Integrated Bar of the Philippines lawyer Israelito Torreon explained that the Federal form of government could only be implemented in the Philippines through the revision of the Constitution.
Delegates from all over the country, including a delegation from Bicol led by Bicol Autonomy advocacy Dante Jimenez, also voiced their support for the shirt to a Federal form of government.
Former Press Secretary Jess Dureza emphasized during the synthesis he presented said that the delegates agreed the next President of the country should be involved in the advocacy to establish a Federal form of government in the country.
Duterte is the only presidential material, among the six or seven names consistently mentioned as possible presidential materials, who carry the Federalism advocacy.
At the end of the Summit, Duterte and the other delegates signed the Manifesto of Support for the Federalism Advocacy.
The Federalism secretariat head Mayor Jun Evasco of Maribojoc, Bohol said there will be other Federalism meetings in other parts of the country.