MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday changed his tune on federalism and instead said he wants a change in the Constitution.
Speaking during the oath-taking of newly elected local officials and Hugpong ng Pagbabago senators at the Malacañang, Duterte said he will accept it if the move towards federalism will not push through during his administration.
He added, however, that the Constitution should be changed.
"Kaya it’s not for me, in my generation, somebody else’s. But you should change the Constitution actually. Not for anything. If you do not want federalism, fine. But change the Constitution that would really change this nation. Sabihin ko sa inyo," he said.
Duterte has been pushing for a shift from a unitarian to a federal form of government, believing this would spur countryside development.
The Mindanaoan president has long held that opportunities for progress have been limited within "imperial Manila."
Back in January, the Palace said Duterte is not yet giving up on its push to change the country’s form of government to federalism even after Duterte hinted he might just opt to have the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution amended.
The legislative branch has yet to decide on charter change proposals despite the administration's supermajority coalition in the House of Representatives.
Several lawmakers earlier conceded that the Philippines is not yet ready for a federal shift as the electorate has yet to fully grasp the concept.
The House of Representatives in December approved its version of the draft federal charter on third and final reading.
The Senate has yet to pass a counterpart bill.