THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the shift to a federal government is still a priority of the administration despite the latest pronouncement by President Rodrigo R. Duterte acknowledging that the move is unlikely to gain enough support in Congress. “The President was just being realistic. He understands that federalism is a profound change. He merely underscored the need for more information dissemination so it will gain greater public support. But it does not mean that he’s abandoning the advocacy,” said DILG Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya in a statement on Wednesday. Mr. Duterte said on Tuesday that he is now open to the possibility that federalism, one of his main campaign platforms, would not happen. “Not for anything. If you do not want federalism, fine. But change the Constitution, that would really change this nation,” he said in a speech in Malacañang. However, Mr. Malaya said that they only need to relaunch the campaign on federalism. “Thus, the DILG will relaunch the information campaign next month.” He added, “If you read the President’s statements closely, it is really an affirmation of the need to change the system of government from the over-centralized system of the present to a system that shares more power and resources to the region.” Mr. Malaya said that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism is now completing the review of the 1987 Constitution and “rolling out” an information campaign to help Filipinos have a better understanding of federalism. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras