RRD skips Federal-launch

The first national convention of Hugpong Federal Movement of the Philippines went on as scheduled even without the President, who was in Laos, says Atty. Joel Obar, national legal counsel of the movement.

Obar said restrictions are now in place with regards to pronouncements on the whereabouts of President Rodrigo Duterte, even as at least five cabinet secretaries have confirmed their attendance, namely, Sec. Leoncio Evasco Jr., DILG Sec. Ismael Sueño, DA Sec. Emmanuel Piñol, Sec. Peter Laviña and former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. who is the father of the Local Government Code. Press Secretary Martin Andanar may also be coming, he said.

Atty. Obar would not want to unduly alarm the delegates but security forces are on their toes to prevent any untoward incident during the two-day convention scheduled this week in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.

He said the federal movement is not just a walk in the park expecting resistance from groups or forces who would want to frustrate the same including the prevailing threat of terrorist groups or criminal elements who would want to take advantage of the situation and simply coming from oppositors of the movement.

However, Obar said there is no withdrawing, it will go on as planned because Hugpong will just find ways in order to do it democratically and as peaceful as possible in support of the program of the President regarding federalism.

President Rodrigo Duterte will either speak on the first day or during the closing ceremonies the following day, where four major resolutions by then are already approved and prepared for submission to the President.

Obar said Hugpong understand the resistance is as strong as Congress, as strong as the oligarchs, as strong as the drug lords and as strong as anybody who is against the federal form of government.

The convention hopes to bring forth to the consciousness of the Filipino people down to the grassroots level, Obar pointed out.

Meanwhile, security forces in Dumaguete City and the province of Negros Oriental is on heightened alert with the declaration of the state of lawlessness by the President following the Davao bombing.

Coast guard station commander, Lt Junior Grade Analiza Ramacho has requested for augmentation of their K-9 units in Cebu for deployment at the port of Dumaguete to include the subport in Tandayag, Amlan that has jurisdictions of the wharfs in Sibulan, Looc and Tampi.

These areas badly need the K-9 units in the absence of x-ray machines and scanners unlike in the main port of Dumaguete where CCTV cameras are installed every where aside from the x-ray machine to detect presence and entry of contraband items to include firearms and explosives from Mindanao.

Ramacho also said the coast guard is increasing its visibility and seaborne patrol with the use of the aluminum boats daily at the seas off the province, including foot patrols along the coastlines especially during the two-day convention.

Augmentation troops will also be deployed in billeting areas such as the West City Elementary School in Dumaguete where at least 1,500 delegates will stay, at the Negros Oriental Convention Center, at Bethel Guest House where dignataries are expected to converge, at the Rizal Boulevard including certain places in Valencia and Sibulan.

Meanwhile, Atty. Obar was one of those who defended the declaration of a state of lawlessness, in saying its not Martial Law. Martial Law is Martial Law by its words, he pointed out. Under the Constitution, the President can call upon the military to assist in the police work and he can do that only when a state of lawlessness is declared.

Obar reiterated, the president is faced with three enemies at this time, the terrorist group ISIS and Abu Sayaff, the drug syndicates and those who wanted to derail the federal movement. (By Dems Demecillo)

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