FEDERALISM GOES ON TOUR
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on January 17 fired the starting gun for a month-long, nation-wide consultations on Federalism as a form of government to solve the country’s woes.
Last year, top Mindanao political leaders headed by Duterte gathered in Davao City to plan out an ambitious move to gather nation-wide support for Federalism to help convince Malacanang and lawmakers to move to a federal form of government.
In December, the Federal Movement was launched in Davao City in a summit attended by nearly 1,000 delegates from all over the country.
Duterte kicked off the start of a planned series of consultations in his home base in Davao City in a political leadership forum attended by hundreds of students of the Jesuits-run Ateneo de Davao University.
The consultations will first hit Mindanao with speaking engagements in Butuan City on January 22, Zamboanga City on January 25 and Pagadian City on January 26.
The tour goes to Cebu on January 29, and then jump off on January 31 to its Luzon sortie with engagements in Bulacan, Cabanatuan City and Nueva Ecija.
In February, Duterte was to attend consultations in Puerto Princesa City, Antipolo City, Dumaguete City, Dipolog City, Dagupan City, Baguio City, Tuguegarao City, Mati City and Iloilo City.
While Duterte said he was going around the country to seek support for Federalism, the tour will afford him chance to feel how strongly people want him to run for President in 2016. Duterte said he was not running even as various groups and public sentiment demands he run for the top post.
“We hope that after the tour, Mayor Duterte will have a clearer appreciation of the sentiments of the Filipino people,” said Mayor Leoncio “Jun” Evasco of Maribojoc, Bohol.
Evasco, Duterte’s long-time political strategist before he was elected mayor of the Bohol town, is accompanying Duterte in the tour along with former North Cotabato Governor Manny Pinol.
Even as the core of his speeches centers on Federalism, Duterte is forced to deny that he is interested to run for President in 2016.
Amid massive corruption and skyrocketing crime indexes, there is now a snowballing public sentiment urging Duterte to take a crack at the Presidency to help resolve the country’s woes.
Pinol said that while the consultations aim to gather support for Federalism, it would also be a venue for Duterte “to gauge the growing clamor of the people for him to seek the presidency.”