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Duterte: Federalism will bring peace in Mindanao

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte on Monday continued to push for a federal form of government during the PDP-Laban's formal proclamation of his presidency.

"Nothing short of a federal structure can give peace in Mindanao. Believe me, I came from there," he said.

"Our destiny in Mindanao is not decided by us. It is decided by the people in Manila... If there are failures in the talks, ang patayan sa Mindanao," he added.

In his speech, Duterte said that when he first read the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, he knew that it would not pass.

He also gave a background on the struggles of the Moro people, which started when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines hundreds of years ago.

Duterte added that the differences between the Moro people and the Christians in the Philippines make it even more apt to push for federalism.

He said that the advocacy of shifting the country to federalism was passed on to him by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., founding member of PDP-Laban and former Cebu governor Emilio Mario "Lito" Osmeña.

"Kinausap ako to carry the torch of federalism kasi sabi nila matanda na sila. Nagbigay sila sa akin ng funding, iyong mga may pera dyan sa Mindanao binigyan ako ng konting pera at nag-ikot ako. All along in every event, every meeting, I have been telling you that it is federal," Duterte said.

"We have to go federal," he reiterated, adding that the Philippines can copy the federal systems in England, France or even Malaysia. 

In an interview with reporters after PDP-Laban's endorsement, Duterte's running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano emphasized that there will be a Charter change under Duterte's administration. 
"He will work hard and he is committed to shift to a federal form of government," he said. 
When pressed about Duterte's statement that he will send tanks to the Congress if the federal form of government will not push through, Cayetano said that it was just the mayor's way of expressing how committed he is to push for federalism. 
"It is his forceful way of saying na ipaglalaban ko ito. I personally believe that as a three-term congressman and then as a senior senator that when the president really pushes for something, especially this, hindi mo na kailangan isara ang Congress para sumunod ang mga congressman and senador. Lalo na kung magiging landslide ang victory kasi magiging klaro na ang gusto ni Duterte, iyon ang gusto ng mga tao," he said. 
Cayetano said the public should not take Duterte's statements literally. 
"When he says that he will send tanks to the Congress, if magkaroon ng standoff and they will be eyeball to eyeball, ibang usapan iyon. I do believe that it's his way of showing he means business sa Kongreso," he said.  —ALG/KBK, GMA News