Hon. Rodrigo R. Duterte, the highly esteemed mayor of Davao City was welcomed by the Palawan State University with open arms. He was personally greeted by PSU President Dr. Jeter S. Sespeñe, who himself could not hide his elation as the Mayor marched gently into the Performing Arts Center.

With an especially jovial tone, the President exclaimed, “Let us listen to all the brilliant ideas and wisdom that we will get here.”

As he opened his speech, Mayor Duterte firmly dismissed popular clamor for him to run for the upcoming Presidency in 2016 saying, “I am not here to run for President. I do not want it and I do not need it.”

Currently, Mayor Duterte is making his rounds all over the Philippines as part of his “listening tour”. He has visited several places in the Philippines and in this series of visits, Palawan is his last stop for the time being. Earlier in the day, the Mayor was at the Provincial Capitol of Palawan to attend a Federalism Summit hosted by Palawan Governor Jose C. Alvarez.

Much of the credit for making this event possible belongs to the College of Arts and Humanities, which initiated the Mayor’s visit with the aim of supplementing the Political Science Program of the said College. The audience, mostly composed of Political Science Majors and other students taking up Political Science in their general curriculum, was educated about the more salient nuances of Federalism and how such a form of government would be beneficial to most Filipinos.

Dr. Gabilyn Orilla, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities expressed her acknowledgement of Mayor Duterte’s celebrated visit to PSU.

“This comes at a very significant time for us and I am very happy that our students can learn about Federalism from the rough and tough Mayor Duterte himself. It is such an honor to have him here. I thank the Mayor from the bottom of my heart,” said Dean Orilla, who herself is a Graduate of Political Science.

Mayor Duterte specifically spoke about how a Federal form of government would ensure that generated funds from a locale would not have to be relinquished to the National Treasury – an ideal outcome refreshing to the minds of Palaweños who are still stinging from the infamous Malampaya issue which is hotly debated to this day. It was measured that of the 72 Billion Pesos that the project generated, a measly 3 Billion was the only amount that went back to the Province of Palawan during the previous administration.

“You get to hold your money first before it is taken away from you. With 72 Billion pesos, you could build a palace for each household here,” said Mayor Duterte. He further emphasized how such a huge amount generated from the Malampaya Funds can benefit the students as far as their education is concerned.

Pointing out the fresh Mamasapano incident wherein 44 Special Action Force troops were slaughtered in Maguindanao as an example, Mayor Duterte also mentioned that the turmoil in Mindanao will best be addressed by a Federal government as opposed to a Unitary government. He then added that in the Unitary form of government which is currently the system in place at the moment, the cultural customs in a particular locale are not given weight as much as any issue regarding power or territory.

(M. Villa-Agustin, 2015)