Sounding apologetic, President Rody Duterte, in Davao City, asked the public for patience and understanding on his vows on federalism and for Muslim autonomy through the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Rody, in all candidness, indicated that difficult times lay ahead even as he finally delivers on his promises.
His determination, however, was indisputable as he reiterated his offer to step down once federalism is in place.
“We’re just trying to perfect everything and if you want a new leader during the transition, you can provide it in the law itself. And I would be happy to step down,” Duterte said.
Rody added the time for federalism has come and that he is in the presidency to “fix everything” in the Constitution to allow the country to progress by distributing power and resources to all regions.
On the BBL, Rody said he will push for the autonomy bill to pass “without any cuts,” but told Muslim leaders that he can’t guarantee that everything will fall in place for the autonomous region immediately.
“Give us time. Because I do not want to fight. I do not wage a war against my own countrymen” was Rody’s plea to the Muslim leaders.
The drafting of the Federal Charter is in its final phase as the Consultative Committee (Concom) reviewing the 1987 Constitution said it is ready to present to Rody the draft before July 9 in preparation for Rody’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
Rody told his audience that his support for both the BBL and the Federal shift was based on his belief that they are the solutions to the war against poverty and in attaining lasting peace.
Both measures provide for delegation and distribution of authority away from the nation’s capital from the current unitary system, where government power emanates from “Imperial Manila.”
The viewpoint of Rody is shared by many Filipinos who believe the current system of government is meant to preserve a status quo that dates back to the Spanish era in which the elite dominated politics and society.
The Philippines, as a colony first by Spain then the United States had to be ruled from Manila to assure that the wishes of the colonial masters were followed to the letter.
Administrations after the Philippine independence from the United States still found it convenient to maintain the government system where the central authority in Manila hands down policies to the provinces.
Thus, with the unitary government, nothing has essentially changed in terms of governance since the colonial period.
The yellow mob would be the first to suffer the backlash of the moves for decentralization since its power in dominating society rests in the current system where Manila dominates.
The hypocritical mob succeeded in toppling two administrations through two revolts that were practically organized only in Manila.
Breaking the hold of Manila, thus, on the country, will prove fatal to the yellow mob, which relies on a centralized source of power.
The previous administration of President Noynoy Aquino had campaigned hard for the BBL while resisting all efforts to change the 1987 Constitution created under the watch of his mother Cory Aquino when the yellow mob first ruled.
Noynoy said then that there was no reason to reform the presidential system of government despite acknowledging the need to decentralize authority by backing the BBL even with unconstitutional provisions for the creation of a sub-state included in it.
The pursuit then was to trade off the dismemberment of the country in exchange for the preservation of the status quo.
Rody is bent on breaking the rule of the elite and the yellow mob, including its liberal supporters who have indicated their determination to stop him and bring Rody down.
Thus, Rody’s fight for Federalism and the BBL is a battle of Filipinos against the elite represented by the yellow mob.