MARAWI CITY – “Today, Davao. Tomorrow, Philippines!” was the cry that reverberated within the walls of the overfilled second floor of GMA Gym here where the Forum on Federalism was held Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking to a crowd of leaders and followers of various Maranao groups, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City who was introduced by former Marawi City Mayor Omar “Solitario” Ali, explained why Federalism is the solution to the problems of Mindanao.
He also explained how the Muslims and Christians in the country were set by the colonizers to fight against one another, saying that it was easier to rule a people divided.
“The colonization of the Spaniards was continued by the Americans and the elite in Manila after Philippine Independence,” Duterte said.
He said that in introducing popular democracy in this country, the Americans should have also taught Federalism for it is the system of government in the United States of America.
He observed that almost all the countries of the south-east Asia are federal republics that are now very progressive as they have ended fratricidal struggles due to differences in cultures and tradition.
Duterte said that the central government must accept federalism for the people of Mindanao or they might resort to separatism.
Long convinced that federalism is the only system that will solve the problem in the event that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will not be enacted into law the people were more interested in prodding Duterte to run for President in 2016.
Former Lanao del Sur Congressman Benasing Macarambon, Jr. endorsed Duterte for President in 2016.
He said that Duterte will be the first President from Mindanao in the history of the country.
Maranaos claim that Duterte carries blood of the Maranao in his veins.
Former Mayor Franklin M. Quijano of Iligan, a Roman Catholic born in Marawi City, speaking in part in Maranao dialect also strongly asked the people of this City to support Duterte for President.
He explained why Duterte should be the first Philippine President from Mindanao.
As usual Duterte repeated that he is more interested in Federalism as the lasting solution to the Mindanao problem. However, he said that he would submit to the will of God.
Responding to the insistence of Maranao leaders for him to run for President, Duterte told them to visit him in Davao, “upang mapag-usapan natin yan ng mabuti.” (so that we can talk about it better.)
Newsmen present during the occasion observed how the Maranao public welcomed Duterte and his message.
Those who were not able to find a place in the jam-packed second floor of the gym filled the ground floor and the corridors and listened attentively to the loudspeakers while others stood and cheered from under the trees outside. ( Frank E. Dosdos, Jr)
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