The first Presidential Debate held in Cagayan de Oro City was a great success, with the five presidential candidates having aired their perspectives in various national issues. And it also served as the venue for the Mindanao situation to be raised.

As for Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, all he can say is that the “Daang Matuwid” that is being pushed by the current administration and by rival Mar Roxas was not effective at all.

“Wala akong nakitang matuwid na daan, puro kulubot lang ‘yan,” he said during an exchange with Roxas.

This was in response to Roxas’ statement that the Mindanao provinces are given priority budget by the administration compared to the times of Estrada and Arroyo. “Habang totoo na napag-iiwanan an Mindanao, hindi na po yan ang nangyayari ngayon,” he said. “P260 billion pesos and dumating sa Mindanao itong nakaraang 5 taon kumpara sa 125 billion noong 12 taon ni Gloria at ni Erap.”

“You do not count the funds given during the last 5 years,” Duterte retorted. “Naubos sa corruption.”

Then he presented his way of resolving the Mindanao problem, and that would be federalism.

“It is a disparity and that is why people are clamouring for a federal government,” Duterte explained, citing that a disproportionate amount of funds is concentrated in Metro Manila while other regions are being left behind. “Dissipate muna natin ‘yung central powers for after all, that is a symbol of being oppressed. You have to give us our share.”

In a federal government, local government units become autonomous and have control over their own development with low interference from the national government. The Philippines on the other hand is under a unitary government, where administrative powers are concentrated in the national government.


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