No mention of federalism in Duterte’s meeting with governors, mayors
MANILA, Philippines – Just like in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte made no mention of federalism in his closed-door meeting with governors and mayors on Tuesday night, July 23.
The meeting, which was dubbed by politicians as “SONA Part 2” or “Post-SONA,” was attended by around 80 provincial governors, 130 city mayors, and 1,490 municipal mayors at the Manila Hotel.
A meeting called by the Chief Executive is an opportunity arguably as rare as his annual address to legislators.
The mayors and governors were told to be at the Manila Hotel by 12 noon to register at 1 pm. Duterte arrived past 7 pm.
The President talked about 3 main points, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya told Rappler in a phone interview on Wednesday, July 24.
These are his efforts against illegal drugs, corruption, and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, said Malaya, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesman.
Duterte repeats himself: Just as he did in his 4th SONA, Duterte emphasized the critical role that governors and mayors played in his campaigns. And just like in his SONA, he also warned governors and mayors who would not deliver.
"He reminded us mayors and governors all over the country of the anti-drug campaign. Out of all crimes that could be committed, he could not forgive drug-related crimes," San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora told Rappler in a Wednesday phone interview.
Malaya added: “Sabi niya kay Sec [Eduardo] Año, if there is evidence, file-an ng kaso.... Binalaan din niya (file cases.... He also warned them) not to support CPP-NPA."
The President also reminded the mayors about his order for them to reduce the processing time for business permits to 3 days in hopes of spurring the country’s economic growth.
The twist: Even if the President had glossed over his administration thrust, federalism was still promoted in the meeting through the DILG.
Aside from the local chiefs, Cabinet officials also took turns to give reminders from their respective departments.
Malaya and Año spoke on behalf of the DILG. Malaya reiterated to the mayors and governors that Duterte’s silence did not mean that the government was letting go of the grand plan of federalism.
“We will call them again for another event which would be focused on federalism and charter change alone,” Malaya said.
Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez discussed the economic importance of easing doing business. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu renewed calls for complianceto the Solid Waste Management Act, while Health Secretary Francisco Duque III spoke about the implementation of the universal healthcare law.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr also addressed the local chiefs, asking for their support for Duterte’s recently created task force to address the communist insurgency. – Rappler.com
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