By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte supports a “more powerful” regional government but opposes any creation of the regional military and police under the proposed federal government.
The President said he prefers to retain a single Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (PNP) following the proposal of the consultative committee, tasked to review the 1987 Constitution, to adopt a federal-presidential system of government.
“Kailangan isang pulis lang at isang armed forces lang [There should only be one police force and armed forces],” Duterte said during his visit to Lanao del Norte last Wednesday, adding these uniformed services must remain under the supervision of the President.
“Iyon lang ang one of the things that I would insist na hindi talaga ako papayag na may mga regional armed forces pati regional police [That’s one of the things I would insist on. I will not agree to regional armed forces and regional police]” he added.
The President said the federal-presidential government proposed by the committee led by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno was partly patterned from France.
Duterte admitted that he prefers the country to still have an elected president who will retain control over national governance. The federal government should also keep powers over defense, law and order, foreign policy, banking and monetary policy, among others, he said.
“A president is elected by everybody. All others, mga assemblyman, tawag nga, kagaya ngayon mga congressman [assemblyman now known as congressmen] they will elect the prime minister parang vice president,” he said.
Local government units, however, should be given “more power” in the federal system by allowing them to keep their revenues, according to the President.
At present, he said local government units receives annual internal revenue allotment (IRA) or a share of revenues from the national government.
“Ang federal type is ang kita ninyo dito, inyo tapos magpadala kayo ng contribution sa federal government [Under the federal type, you will get to keep your income and send some contribution to the federal government],” Duterte said.
“Mas powerful na ang regional governments sa mga plano [The regional government will be more powerful based on the plans],” he added.
Once the federalism system is in place by 2020, Duterte reiterated his offer to cut short his six-year term to pave the way for his replacement.
“Sabi nila na gusto kong mag-diktador, magpatagal, pagka-2020 nandiyan na ‘yan, tapos may posisyong presidente, alis na ako, bababa na ako [They said I want to become a dictator, stay beyond my term. If it is in place by 2020 and there’s a position for president, I will leave, I will step down],” he said.
“Hindi na ako maghintay ng ‘22. Kukusa ako ng baba [I will not wait for 2022. I will voluntarily step down],” he added.