“THERE are a lot of good 2016 presidential candidates in Metro Manila, but the best is in Mindanao.”
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte issued this statement on Tuesday in a speech before a huge crowd at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in commemoration of the school’s 63rd Foundation Anniversary and the 124th birth anniversary of its founder, Dr. Jose P. Laurel.
“Nandito lahat ang magagandang lalaki pati babae sa Manila na pwedeng maging President [All the good male and female potential presidential candidates are in Manila],” he said.
“Si [Sen. Grace] Poe is good, si [Interior Secretary] Mar [Roxas] is good, si [Sen. Peter] Cayetano is good, [Sen.] Chiz Escudero is good. Tingnan niyo sila. Ngayon kapag wala kayong makita dito, lumingon kayo sa South, sa Mindanao, kasi nandoon ang best, [Sen. Grace Poe is good, Interior Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas 2nd is good, Sen. Peter Cayetano is good, Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero is good. Look at them, then look southward, to Mindanao, because the best is there],” Duterte added.
He is yet to categorically declare if he will run for President in 2016.
Earlier, the Davao mayor refused to confirm if he will seek the country’s highest post but on Tuesday he told reporters that he was not discounting the possibility.
“It’s a long shot,” he said.
In the same speech, Duterte pushed for a federal system of government as an alternative if Congress fails to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
He warned that Mindanao will be in chaos again if the BBL is not enacted into law, or is watered down into something unacceptable to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“After Mamasapano, the MILF said that they would not accept a watered-down version [of the BBL]. They will go to war,” Duterte said, .
Under the proposed BBL, the MILF also wanted a federal system of government.
“Under the federal set-up, all the money that you collect, say in a region, you retain it and just contribute to the federal government, like in America. You should give only a portion of your income, like 60-40 sharing. That’s the idea, if we agree to adopt this system of governance,” he explained.
Under the unitary system at present, the mayor pointed out, only the central government handles all the money, except for the property tax.
He said the unitary system breeds corruption.
Mindanao, Duterte noted, is home to 30 million mostly indigenous Filipinos and contributes 54 percent to the country’s exports earnings.
But he said the region is always left behind and never consulted on crucial matters.
“Walang tumawag sa amin. Walang Cabinet member na nag-summon sa amin for conferment. Puro military lang, hindi nga sila magkaintindihan [Nobody called us. No Cabinet member bothered to confer with us. They only involved the military, so there’s miscommunication],” Duterte added.