Duterte ready to step down once shift to federalism complete
(Philstar.com) - July 25, 2016 - 9:13pm
MANILA, Philippines -- President Duterte is willing to step down if the country’s form of government is changed to federalism within the fourth or fifth year of his administration.
 
Duterte said a president should lead the envisioned parliamentary and federal government but clarified that he would not be the one to do it.
 
“You must have a president. You copy France’s system. Do not leave everything to the parliament. It is too risky. There is no (single) apparatus (that will govern) from the commander-in-chief down,” the president told lawmakers Monday during his first state of the nation address.
 
"If you hurry up the federal system of government, you can submit it to the Filipino people by the fourth or fifth year (of my presidency). You call for a referendum, and after that call for a presidential election," he added.
 
"Then I will go. Sibat na ako (I’ll step down)."
 
Duterte said the powers of the president can be limited to ceremonial ones or accepting resolutions except in times of need.
 

'No need to finish term'

 
He said once the constitutional amendments are passed and the final version of the bill is handed to him for his signature, he would call for an election the next day or the following week.
 
“Even if there is still two or three years left, I will go. Do not worry about it. I am not into that ambition,” Duterte said, referring to the presidency.
 
Duterte has been pushing for federalism, saying this will promote development in the countryside and address the longstanding conflict in Mindanao. In fact, the establishment of a federal state is the centerpiece of Duterte’s presidential campaign.
 
Federalism varies from one country to another but in general, it provides more powers to local governments including taxation, enforcing business regulations, and setting up courts.
 
The Philippines has adopted a unitary form government wherein much of policies and decisions emerge from the central government in Manila. Critics of the set-up believe too much power is concentrated in the capital, resulting in the unfair distribution of resources and underdevelopment in far-flung areas.
 
Duterte previously said that he prefers to amend the charter through constitutional convention rather than through a constituent assembly to allow legal minds to provide their input.

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