MANILA - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to run for president in 2016 "if only to save this Republic."
"I could make this sacrifice if only to save this country from being fractured," Duterte said in the First Federalism Forum in Northern Luzon in Dagupan.
In a statement, the Duterte camp said the mayor was asked by one of the participants on what he could do to address the problems of the country.
Duterte has always been mum about his plans to run for president.
His camp said the Dagupan declaration ends speculations on whether or not he will yield to the call of some groups.
Duterte is currently going around the country for a “Listening Tour” that aims to advocate for a shift in the country’s system from a unitary presidential to a federal parliamentary system.
Duterte had said the federal parliamentary form of government will help address the issues in the countryside.
During the forum, Pangasinan Rep. Eric Acuna told Duterte: "It is no longer a personal decision for you. It is your moral obligation. You have to save this country."
"Finally, we heard the words that we have long been waited for. This is a game changer for the country," said Dante Jimenez, head of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.