SULU – Thousands of Muslims here rallied Monday behind the proposed establishment of a federal government being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Sulu Gov. Toto Tan and his father, Sakur Tan – who are strong Duterte allies in the South – led the rally in downtown Jolo, the provincial capital.
Members of the pro-Duterte group called Kilusang Pagbabago, and municipal mayors also participated in the rally where speakers discussed about the proposed government.
Thousands of Tausugs rally behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s federalism advocacy rally on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 in Jolo town on southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photos)
Villagers from different towns marched as early as 6 a.m. and trooped in front of the Jolo municipal ground to listen to what pro-Duterte advocates would say about federalism and its importance to Sulu, one of five provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM.
Security was tight throughout the program and even bags of journalists were searched by soldiers from the 35th Infantry Battalion. An MG-520 helicopter also flew
“We are here to enlighten our Tausug people about President Duterte’s proposed federal government. The Tausug people are for federalism and their trust on President Duterte remains very strong. We are all for federalism, we are behind President Duterte,” said the Tan patriarch, who is running again for governor in Sulu.
Wedzmar Abdurajak, an executive assistant of presidential daughter and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, also spoke during the rally and thanked the organizers and huge crowd for their support on the proposed federal government.
Muslims in the region are to vote this month and on February for the ratification of the controversial Bangsamoro Organic Law or BOL which, if approved, shall replace ARMM.
The elder Tan has urged Duterte to declare a revolutionary government to hasten the establishment of a federal form of government.
“Para mapadali ang federalism dapat mag-declare na tayo ng revolutionary government just like the time of President Cory Aquino it was a revolutionary government. And so anong nangyari, sandali lang ay nagawa na yun Constitution natin. So the President can now appoint members of the commission that will draft the new Constitution and then come up with the new government and then come up with the form of government that we will have. Instead of a unitary form of government then we can have a parliamentary-federal system of government,” Tan said.
The governor of Sulu filed a petition with the Supreme Court last year questioning the legality and constitutionality of the BOL. Constitutional framers also asked the High Court to reject the BOL, saying, the law violates the Charter. (Mindanao Examiner)
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