Sotto supports Duterte’s change of heart in federalism push

MANILA -- Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday agreed with President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to no longer insist on pushing for federalism to solve the overconcentration of powers and resources in the national government.

"I'm of the same thinking. The transition period to federalism will take too long," Sotto told reporters in a text message.

Duterte, however, said he would still prefer to make changes in the 1987 Constitution.

If you do not want federalism, fine. But change the Constitution that would really change this nation, Duterte said in his speech during the oath-taking of newly-elected senators and local officials endorsed by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) in the recent mid-term polls on Tuesday.

Sotto said it would be better to simply amend the local government code to give full autonomy to local government units.

The Senate leader also suggested amending some economic provisions in the Constitution.

Senator-elect and former presidential aide Christopher "Bong" Go earlier bared that Duterte has accepted that a shift to a federal system of government may not happen within his term.

Nagkausap rin po kami ni Pangulong Duterte tungkol sa federalism. Sabi niya mukhang mahihirapan po tayo sa ngayon (The President and I talked about federalism. He said it looks like we'll have a difficult time passing it for now), Go said in a press briefing in Casa Roces restaurant across MalacaAang on June 10.

Go emphasized what should be prioritized for now is boosting the information dissemination campaign on federalism.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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