By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has declared that he was ready to retire once the country has shifted to a federal system of government.
The President has renewed his offer to cut short his six-year term and give way to new leaders if the federalism is in place by 2020.
Duterte, elected in 2016, has a constitutional mandate until 2022.
“Ako naman, kung matapos ‘yang BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) o ‘yang federalism, sabi ko nga, by 2020, kung nandiyan na ‘yan at magsabi na kailangan ng eleksyon na bago, I will step down [If the BBL o federalism is completed by 2020, if it’s in place and requires new elections, I will step down],” the President said during his visit to Marawi City last Friday.
“Good for 2022 pa ako. Pero pagka may federal set-up na, baba ako. Bigay ko na sa — Mamili kayo ng leader ninyo [But once there’s a federal set-up, I will step down. You can choose your leaders]. I’m ready to retire,” he added.
The President also disclosed plans to restart talks with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari once the proposed BBL is passed.
Duterte earlier promised to work towards the passage of BBL this year, admitting it was crucial to promoting peace and development in Mindanao.
“Gusto ko maghanap tayo ng formula. Pag-usapan natin ito. Hinihintay ko na lang ‘yung BBL. At kung naipasa ‘yan [I want us to find a formula. Let’s talk about it. I’m just waiting for the BBL and once it is passed] I’ll start talking with Misuari,” he said.
Congress leaders have pledged to pass the long-overdue BBL by May 30 during a recent meeting with the President in Malacañang. Duterte previously warned of the renewed outbreak of hostilities in Mindanao if the government fails to pass the bill seeking to create the Bangsamoro region.