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Duterte gives up on federalism

June 26, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte had apparently given up on his promise to push for the country’s shift to a federal system of government.

“If you do not want federalism, fine. But change the Constitution that would really change this nation,” Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly elected local officials in Malacañang.

President Rodrigo Duterte answers queries from members of the media after watching the movie “Kontradiksyon” during its premiere at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City on June 24, 2019. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte has been pushing for a federal system, saying it would decentralize the government and empower the regions.

A recent survey, however, showed that charter change and federalism remain unpopular among Filipinos.

Incoming senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go earlier said Duterte had conceded that federalism may not happen under his watch.

“Sabi niya mukhang mahihirapan din tayo ngayon (The President and I talked about federalism, he said it would be difficult),” Go said in an earlier media interview.

Duterte’s federalism initiative has yet to pass Congress even with a legislature dominated by his allies.

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