By Ellson Quismorio
Opposition senatorial bet, Magdalo Party-List Rep. Gary Alejano is insinuating that President Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure about Nur Misuari’s threat of war should federalism fail is just plain propaganda.
“The revelation of Nur Misuari declaring war should federalism fail is a hard sell,” Alejano said in a statement Monday.
According to the Marine captain-turned-congressman, the government’s intended switch toward a federal system from the current unitary system has lost steam; thus, the Duterte administration is trying to revive it.
“Unti-unting nawawalan ng popularidad ang pederalismo kaya binubuhay muli ito ng administrasyon at ang nakakadismaya, may kasama pang pananakot (Federalism is slowly losing its popularity, that’s why the administration is reviving it. What’s disappointing is they’re fear-mongering),” he said.
Last week, Duterte bared details of a conversation he had with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Misuari wherein the latter purportedly threatened to declare war in case the move to federalism doesn’t push through.
“Sabi ni Misuari (Misuari told me)… ‘If you do not give it to me, let me be very honest: I will go to war,'” the Chief Executive was quoted as saying.
It can be recalled that federalism was among then-Davao City mayor Duterte’s main platform points when he ran for the presidency in 2016. He ultimately won via landslide.
But “Otso Diretso” candidate Alejano claimed that the Philippines is simply not ready for federalism right now.
“Self-sustainability should precede autonomy. Hindi ngayon ang panahon para ilagay pa sa alanganin ang kapakanan ng bayan dahil sa pilit na pederalismo (Now is not the time to endanger the fate of the country just because of forced federalism),” he said.
“Remember that there is strong evidence against a shift to federalism as only NCR (National Capital Region), Region IV-A, and Region 3 would thrive under this set-up,” Alejano further said.
“The government is accountable to the people alone and therefore, should not be held hostage by the desires of certain groups. Rather, let us build on the efforts of both sides to chart a path towards a long-lasting peace for our people,” he added