BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED-CAR) hosted a Student Leaders’ Forum on Laws Protecting Women’s and Children’s Rights which included a discussion on Cordillera autonomy at Pines City Colleges on November 22, 2017.
Former CAR education supervisor and member of the Autonomy IEC Speakers’ Bureau, Dr. Paulina Sawadan shared the main features of House Bill 5343 which seeks to establish an Autonomous Region of the Cordillera and the role and benefits the youth sector have under an autonomous set-up.
She added that the rights of indigenous peoples and its youth will be protected through culturally-sensitive provisions of the proposed law. The bill provides for a culturally-sensitive education through the integration of indigenous knowledge systems and practices in all levels. Community responsive education which takes into account indigenous knowledge systems, practices and languages is also covered in the bill.
The student participants were noticeably lacking awareness of the Cordillera’s pursuit for autonomy with several questions often related to the Muslim Mindanao experience.
One student leader thus proposed a youth committee, to be composed of student leaders of Benguet and possibly the Cordillera, to initiate discussions on Cordillera Autonomy. After the event, the student leaders requested over 700 copies of HB 5343 to distribute to their respective schools.
Students from Saint Louis University will be conducting a symposium on Cordillera Autonomy early 2018 to further enhance the role of the youth in raising awareness on self-governance.
By Marlo T. Lubguban