“We’re just trying to perfect everything and if you want a new leader during the transition, you can provide it in the law itself, creating the parliament, the system of the distribution of the regional autonomous region, and I would be happy to step down,” Duterte said during the Eid al-Fitr celebration in Davao City on Saturday.
Presidential photo/Simeon Celi Jr.
Duterte ready to quit during transition
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After a member of the consultative committee (Concom) said that President Duterte could seek reelection if allowed by the new Constitution, the Chief Executive stressed he is ready to step down during the transition to federalism.

“We’re just trying to perfect everything and if you want a new leader during the transition, you can provide it in the law itself, creating the parliament, the system of the distribution of the regional autonomous region, and I would be happy to step down,” Duterte said during the Eid al-Fitr celebration in Davao City on Saturday. 

“During the transition... (if) you want a new leader, I am telling you now, I will step down if that is the wish of the Filipino people. Do not believe I intended to stay forever,” he added.

Last week, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said the Concom would recommend that the President be given a four-year term, with the right to one reelection under a new Charter. 

Pimentel, a member of the committee, said Duterte might be reelected “if allowed by the new Constitution.” 

Duterte described as garbage claims that he is using his influence to amend the Constitution to extend his term.

Transforming the government from unitary to federal is one of the campaign promises of Duterte, who believes that the system will bring peace and development in Mindanao.

Under a federal system, local government units will be given more powers including imposing taxes and creating courts.

Duterte said it’s about time the Philippines adopts a federal set-up. 

BBL passage

Meanwhile, Duterte ensured the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) after certain kinks are ironed out by Congress.

He said he wants the BBL to be passed during his term. 

“I hope Chairman (Nur) Misuari can be convinced to join the talks so that if there are corrections or maybe additions or provisions that would not sit well with Tausug and the rest of the southern part of Mindanao, we can ease the friction of the MI…, MN… and the rest of Mindanao,” Duterte said referring to the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

He said the Muslims should give the government more time to thresh out their concerns if the proposed BBL fails to hurdle Congress.

He said he does not want to declare war against fellow Filipinos.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who attended the   Eid al-Fitr celebration, said the bicameral committee would work fast for the passage of the BBL.

“We will convene the bicameral committee before sessions start next month,” Alvarez said, adding he hopes the BBL will be passed in time for Duterte’s state of the nation address next month. 

“As long as each provision of the proposed law would be constitutional, then we can work from there,” Alvarez said.

Duterte also stressed the importance of the sacrifice and charity in the Islamic faith for the sake of unity and peace in the country. 

“The Islamic faith reveals to us the importance of sacrifice and charity. Let these values guide us as we pursue real and lasting change through peace, unity, and prosperity,” he said, as he urged Muslim Filipinos not to support Islamic militant groups. – With Edith Regalado

FEDERALISM RODRIGO DUTERTE
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