Duterte confident Filipinos will support shift to federal gov't

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte remains confident the people will rally behind his plan to shift the government from a unitary form to a federal one.

"I am confident that the Filipino people will stand behind us as we introduce this new fundamental law that will not only strengthen democratic institutions but will also create an environment where every Filipino...will have an equal opportunity to grow and create a future," Duterte said during his third State of the Nation Address on Monday.

A recent survey released by Pulse Asia, however, stated that only 18 percent of Filipinos believe the Constitution should be amended right away.

It added that 37 percent said the Constitution should not be amended at all, while 30 percent said they are open to the idea of a charter change in the future. The survey was conducted from June 15 to 21 among 1,800 registered voters nationwide.

Meanwhile, the President reiterated he will not extend his term beyond what is mandated by the Constitution, or even the proposed Federal Constitution should it be enacted.

Duterte also thanked the 22 members of the panel he created to review the 1987 Constitution and propose amendments to guide the shift to a federal government.

"I therefore consider it a distinct honor and privilege to have received earlier from the Consultative Committee that I created the Federal Constitution that will truly embody that ideal aspirations of all the Filipino people," he said.

Under the current Constitution, Duterte's presidency will end after serving a six-year term. The proposed Federal Constitution, however, states that he should step down within six months from its ratification to give way for a transition president.