DAVAO CITY: City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte convened leaders of political, business, military, religious, academe, and civil society organizations here to discuss the possibility of pushing for Federalism as an alternative to what he deems as an “antiquated system” of government.
The summit, dubbed “Mindanaons Forging Unity Toward a Federal System of Government,” will be held at the Grand Menseng Hotel today.
In an invitation letter, Duterte said the summit aims to organize a well-informed united front to craft a collective plan of action on the shift towards a governmental system which, he believes, is consistent with the aspirations of various cultural groups in Mindanao.
Former president Fidel Ramos is slated as a member of the panel of reactors. He will be joined by former Davao Archbishop Msgr. Fernando Capalla, Ateneo de Davao University president Fr. Joel Tabora, University of Mindanao Student Council President Krista Iris Melgarejo, Ret. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. for the military, Paul Dominguez for the business sector, Severino Mamboo for indigenous peoples, and a representative of the Philippine Constitution Association.
Reuben Canoy, founder of the Radio Mindanao Network and an advocate of Federalism, will discuss the rationale of the Summit.
Meanwhile, Professor Sukarno Tanggol, Chancellor of the Mindanao State University, is set to discuss the theoretical basis of Federalism.
The past months have seen Duterte strongly advocating Federalism as an alternative option to Bangsamoro autonomy even as he has thrown his support to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Duterte dismissed assumptions that the BBL is the “last card” in solving the separatist rebellion in Mindanao. The mayor suggested instituting a Federal state in Mindanao to usher peace.
Earlier, the mayor urged Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles to consider adopting Federalism as one of the options to resolve the armed-conflict in Mindanao.
“What if it (BBL) failed along the way? It will be a failed dream for everybody,” he said, while hoping that the said law would be passed by Congress and withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.
Duterte, meanwhile, noted that some people in Mindanao might someday demand that their right to self-determination be recognized.