Federalism advocate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday insisted that for the Philippines to achieve national stability, all private armed groups including the Communists and Moro secessionist groups must be disbanded.
“No other armed group should be allowed to operate in the country except the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Duterte told a huge crowd of students, faculty members and businessmen gathered at the St Cecilia’s Auditorium in the Angeles University Foundation.
Duterte made the statement in response to a question raised by a student on the dangers of Federalism, which would create powerful highly-autonomous states, especially in the Bangsamoro area.
“No armed group should be allowed, including the CAFGUs. They all should go,” Duterte said in an answer to a question on what he would do to assure stability and security if he were President of the Philippines.
Duterte, who is supporting the peace process in the Southern Philippines involving the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said even the MILF, the MNLF and the New People’s Army should be asked to decommission their firearms the moment they agree to join him in a Unity Government which he envisions should he “by God’s will” become President.
Duterte said stability in the country could only be achieved if no other group, aside from the police and the AFP, is allowed to carry firearms.
Under the Federal system of government, which Duterte is proposing to replace the unitary Presidential form, there will be at least 14 Federal states with their own state police, which will all be under the direct supervision of a National Police Force.
He said the Federal government would retain control over the Armed Forces and handle foreign relations and finance.
The creation of Federal States, especially for the restive Bangsamoro who have been clamouring for self-governance, is the best option to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, which would be created with the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress.
With the BBL in danger of being rejected in Congress, Duterte said Federalism was the best option to save the peace process in Mindanao.
However, fears were raised with the establishment of powerful autonomous Federal states, groups like the MILF and BIFF could strengthen their armed groups, which could no longer be controlled by the Federal government later.
“That is a risk which will be addressed with the decommissioning of the firearms of armed groups should they agree to join government. The disarmament must be implemented without fear or favour,” he said.
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