Not yet time to tackle federalism, charter change: Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said it's not yet time to discuss federalism and charter change.
Duterte made the statement after federalism and charter change was not mentioned on his one hour and thirty four minute State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In an ambush interview after the SONA, Duterte said there are some things which he cannot mention for now but he is still pushing for federalism.
“But I said there are things which I cannot mention now. Federalism is good but there are certain things that you have to be very clear,” said Duterte.
Duterte said pushing for federalism devolves a lot of authority to the local governments.
He added that a federal form of government needs a “strong president” and he again expressed it may not happen during his term.
“It must be something like, the president --- not I. I suppose that it would come after me. But it has to have a strong president to put together the country,” he said.
“Because the federal, it’s a very loose structure. One has a lot of power locally. So the president will have to have to devise it. Until such time that we have perfected it, there has to be a strong president with the same powers now… But if it’s me, I’m out of it because I think that it will pass beyond my time,” Duterte added.
On charter change, Duterte said it is not the proper time to discuss it.
“It’s better left in conferences that are not allowed to be open to the public because going to one provision to one another is confusing. In one provision only--- there are a lot of complaints. A lot of pros and cons. You will get dizzy,” he said.
“So better, you just talk it among yourselves and present it to the public, the package--- completed,” he added.
Last June, Duterte acknowledged that a shift to federalism will not happen during his term and he said it is better to amend the Constitution.
During the last 17th Congress, former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved a draft federal charter on third and final reading but the Senate only sat on the measure. Ella Dionisio/DMS