“Autonomy and Federalism does not contradict, the draft constitution is substantially the same with our proposed Autonomy and I am very happy with it” Baguio City Mayor and Regional Development Council chair Mauricio G. Domogan emphasized in the Regional Federalism Road show at the University of Baguio Cardinals Gym last June 26, 2018. Hosted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), local officials & regional line agencies filled the Cardinals gym as seven (7) out of twenty two (22) members of the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) to Review the 1987 Constitution discussed the benefits of shifting from unitary to federal government in a new Philippine Constitution.
Removing cloud of doubt on the integration of CAR to northern Regions, Commissioner Virgilio C. Bautista emphasized that the Con-Com already decided to establish eighteen (18) Federal Region-States, wherein CAR will stand as a region-state. Without the proposed constitution presented, Com. Bautista from Baguio City relayed that they will submit the final draft to President Duterte on July 4, 2018. Domogan in a latter message affirming support to Federalism said that if autonomy goes first, then it will be an index to the new constitution. “We support autonomy and we support federalism, autonomy towards federalism!” Domogan championed.
Flaring the Cordillera road show, Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya of DILG’s Federalism and Constitutional Reform Program said that the vision for federalism in the Philippines dates far back before the campaign of then Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. It is no other than Jose Rizal who visualized for a Federal Philippines in an essay he wrote during his study in Germany Malaya claims.
Con-Com members who spoke before at least 2, 400 audience at the Cardinals gym include Prof. Edmund S. Tayao, Prof. Eddie M. Alih and Dr. Virgilio Bautisa. Keynote and Support messages were given by Usec. Marco Bautisa of the Department of Tourism, Liga ng mga Barangay CAR President Michael Lawana, Asec. Marie Banaag of Presidential Communications Office, Mayor Felipe Remollo of Dumaguete City and Regional Director Marlo L. Iringan of DILG CAR, respectively. The roadshow was concluded with the signing of manifesto of support for Cordillera autonomy towards Federalism.
By Karl Mico D. Alangui