Seminar: A Federal Philippines: President Duterte’s Greatest Ambition



About the Seminar

Since Independence, a debate about the very nature of the Philippine state has persisted between those in favour of the current unitary system of government and those in favour of a federal alternative. The very diversity of the Philippines – the world’s second largest archipelago with over 7,600 islands and 180 active languages – has been used by both sides to bolster their arguments. President Duterte, a committed federalist, is seeking to introduce a federal political system before or by the end of his single six-year term in 2022.

Professor Muego will analyse the manifold political and constitutional challenges facing the president’s top priority. The current Metro Manila-centred unitary system has many powerful vested interests supporting it, including hundreds of local political dynasties. If President Duterte succeeds, this will be the most important political change in the Philippines since Independence.

About the Speaker

Benjamin N Muego is a former tenured Professor of Political Science at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Currently, he is a Professorial Lecturer in International Law, Comparative Foreign Policy, Comparative Government and International Organization in the School of Diplomacy and Governance of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila. Professor Muego was a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS four decades ago and is a repeat contributor to the Institute’s annual Southeast Asian Affairs series.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 27 April 2017.


Apr 28 2017


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2