Former Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez has called on Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to heed the call of the times and run for President in 2016.

“Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the kind of leader the country needs today and we urge him to run for President in 2016,” Fernandez, a long-time Dagupan City mayor, said. He is the national president of the JC International Senate.

Fernandez said burning issues of the times require a President with a grasp of problems confronting the country and an agenda on how to address these problems.

He cited among the critical issues the recent Mamasapano carnage and the shelved Bangsamoro Basic Law, the massive corruption in the government and rising criminality.

Duterte “has the strong leadership character that the country needs in these difficult times,” Fernandez said.

He noted that the Davao City mayor has a “real good chance” of winning the presidency.

Duterte “is a seasoned leader and a proven enforcer. He definitely could deliver,” said the former Dagupan City mayor.

He described Duterte as a “highly marketable” political personality whose track record in turning Davao City from “killing fields” of communist assassins in the late 1970s to the early 1980s into the “4th Safest City in the World to Live In” is a remarkable credential for a prospective leader in a country wracked by the Muslim secessionist rebellion and a communist insurgency.

Fernandez made his observations and assessment of Duterte’s chances in the 2016 elections a day before the Davao mayor was scheduled to arrive in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, for a one-day Federalism Forum at the Lyceum-Northwestern University.

Duterte is advocating a shift from the presidential unitary form of government to federal parliamentary, which he said would address not only regional under-development and centralized corruption, but also provide an option to the beleaguered Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The forum, organized and initiated by former Pangasinan Vice Gov. Gonzalo Duque, will be followed by a lunch meeting with members of the Rotary Club of Dagupan City.

News of Duterte’s visit to Dagupan was aired over local radio stations, resulting in massive inquiries on whether the Federalism Forum is open to the public.

Quite a number of radio listeners even volunteered to work and campaign for Duterte should he decide to run for President.

From Dagupan, the Dvao City mayor will go to Baguio City on February 19 and 20, and then to Angeles City, Pampanga, on February 23.

Duterte’s visit to major cities in Northern Luzon is part of his “Listening Tour” where he leads the advocacy for federalism.