By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte still backs the proposed shift to federal form of government but will let Congress decide on the matter, according to a Palace official.
“The President will leave the federalism issue up to Congress,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a recent interview with the Manila Bulletin.
Panelo affirmed that the federalism proposal could help facilitate better governance and spur economic development in the countryside.
“The President will not pursue federalism if it would only burden our countrymen,” he said.
“The President believes that federalism will improve governance particularly in the local government units as well as sped up economic growth in the provinces,” he added.
The federalism initiative has been vigorously pushed by the President but it has failed to muster enough support from Congress so far.
Last June, President Duterte urged lawmakers to amend the Constitution to improve the country’s situation, if they are no longer interested in pursuing federalism. Duterte, who has long advocated for federalism to decentralize power from Manila, said it was “fine” if the lawmakers do not favor federalism.