Cordillera autonomy still in Duterte’s radar

BAGUIO CITY  – The region’s renewed quest for autonomy is still within the radar of President Rodrigo R. Duterte contrary to speculations that the matter has already been left out by the present administration despite the President’s commitment that it will be certified as an priority administration measure when the right time comes.

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Undersecretary Ryan Esteves said that in one of the meetings in the Palace where the matter on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBC) was being tackled by Cabinet officials, President Duterte was reminded on the status of the autonomy bill of the Cordillera which will be prioritized after the BBL shall have been enacted to law.

Esteves informed concerned stakeholders in the Cordillera during a recent gathering in the city that the President is mindful of his commitment to have the autonomy bill in the Cordillera prioritized that is why it will be best for Cordillera leaders to constantly followup the matter with the Office of the President through various communication letters.

Earlier, the PLLO referred to both chambers of Congress and various departments the memorandum of Presidential Adviser on the Peace process Jesus Dureza detailing the importance of President Duterte Certifying the autonomy bills pending in the House and the Senate as a priority administration similar to what was done to the BBL for their comments and suggestions.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who chairs the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPO-CAR), underscored that the pending autonomy bills in the House and the Senate deserve the President’s certification because both the BBL and the proposed autonomy law have the same legal basis which is Section 15, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution which provides for the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.

Undersecretary Esteves claimed there is nothing wrong for concerned Cordillera officials and stakeholders to constantly communicate to the office of the President regarding the latest developments on the region’s renewed quest for autonomy so that he will be appropriately guided on his future actions on the matter.

It can be recalled that for the first time in the region’s history, Cordillera officials personally met with President Duterte in the Palace on July 18, 2018 where the Chief Executive assured that the autonomy bill in the Cordillera will be taken side by side with the BBL.

House Bill (HB) 5343 authored by Cordillera congressmen seeks to establish the autonomous region in the Cordillera while its counterpart bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1678 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri are now awaiting deliberations with the concerned committees on local governments and awaiting the much needed certification from the office of the President so that it could be acted upon by the lawmakers within a reasonable time.

Secretary Dureza explained that the President’s certification will be issued once the final version of the bill will be ironed out by the concerned House and Senate committees so that its enactment will be smooth sailing in both chambers before being submitted to the office of the President for signature and its enactment into law.

By HENT

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