MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is no longer described as the "protector of the people" in the draft federal charter proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee.
Ding Generoso, spokesperson for the committee, said the charter review body deliberately removed the tag as recognition that the whole government, not the military alone, is the protector of the people.
"The phrase 'the Armed Forces is the protector of people' is being interpreted by some quarters as some kind of right for the Armed Forces to assert power, invoking the protector clause," he told ANC, adding that the provision may be interpreted in a lot of ways.
"It is not just the Armed Forces that protects the people, it is the entire government. 'Yung mayor is your protector, your barangay kapitan (captain) is your protector. That is the function of the whole of government," he added.
The draft charter's declaration of principles and state policies says "the government is the protector of the people and the Federal Republic," and mandates the AFP to "secure the sovereignty of the Republic and the integrity of its national territory."
The President has approved the draft charter and is up for Congress review.
The document is part of the administration's move to shift to a federal form of government, among the President's campaign promises which he believes would help spur countryside development.