The Manila Times

A politician from Mindanao urged President Rodrigo Duterte to be true to his words and create the promised federal government as soon as possible in line with the upcoming plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on January 21.

Abdusakur “Sakur” Tan, a candidate vying for a seat in the upcoming gubernatorial race in Sulu, issued a statement as he expressed his insights on the BOL and the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“So President Duterte is just being true to his words and he means what he said. If you want a federal system, you must declare a revolutionary government now. Federal system through revolutionary government and if we have to declare it, the sooner the better,” Tan said.

Tan emphasized that establishing a federal form of government would be the best option to better manage the territories in the country including the farthest ones in the Mindanao area. He noted that “It is far better than creating a monster like the BOL.”

“Only through federalism can you configure the territories that will constitute the federal states and not cluster only the laggards together like the five provinces in the ARMM,” he added as reported by The Manila Times.

He also expressed his favor of federalism inasmuch as his opposition with the BOL and ARMM. According to the gubernatorial candidate, federalism would lump Sulu together with Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“Now they say that [BOL] it is also federalism where one region will become the BOL, but it is not. It is an isolation because it will only be constituted by five provinces that are laggards, so it is only through federalism that you can mix the laggards with the affluent, otherwise, these laggards will never progress,” Tan explained.

“We should declare a revolutionary government to make things easier. 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,” he added.

The politician strongly encouraged the creation of a revolutionary government in favor of the residents in the South. He also noted that the majority of the leaders in the area are in favor of the said change.

“More than half of the mayors or 15 out of the 19 municipalities overwhelmingly [approved this] and joined me in this clamor for federalism and if need be, call for [the establishment of] a revolutionary government. The legitimate sultans of Sulu will also join us, and I am very sure of that. As their spokesman and special envoy, I speak for the Royal Council of the Sultanate of Sulu comprising the five Sultans of Sulu,” Tan urged.

On Monday, January 7 in Sulu, some 10,000 Muslims rallied behind the proposed establishment of a federal government.

“For us, we held a series of fora where we tried to make the people participate and understand what BOL and federalism is all about. You do not just come and make people participate without making them understand. That is the problem of people who just come to our area and tell our people this is it and this is that, without making them understand. They think that people here are stupid, and they don’t know that our people also think they are stupid,” he added. 

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