TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The region’s renewed quest for autonomy continues to get national support as the leadership of the House of |Representa6ives assur4ed its all-out support to the passage of House Bill (HB) 5343 or the pending bill that seeks to establish an autonomous regional government in the Cordillera during the terms of the present administration.
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said that he was able to talk to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who openly expressed his unrelenting support to the immediate passage of the pending autonomy bill simultaneous with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for the enhanced autonomous region of Mindanao prior to the actions that will be taken on federalism.
However, Mangaoang, who is also serving as the caretaker congressman of Mountain Province, said that the House leadership is simply awaiting the certification from President Rodrigo R. Duterte that HB 5343 is a priority administration measure like what it had done to the BBL so that the House committee on local government and other concerned committees in the Hose could star5t deliberating on the bill.
“Speaker Alvarez fully agrees to our contention that HB 5343 and the BBL must be deliberated by Congress simultaneously so that the Cordillera will not be overtaken by events in the future, especially the on-going move to shift from the unitary to federal form of government that is why we will continue to work hard to be able to secure the President’s valuable certification,” Mangaoang stressed.
On the other hand, the Kalinga lawmaker expressed disappointment to some interest groups and individuals for continuously trying to derail the region’s renewed quest for autonomy by making false representations that the pending bill is not a perfect autonomy measure which will not address the priority issues and concerns in the region.
Mangaoang narrated that he was able to chance upon former national and local officials in some offices in Congress over the past several weeks and that the said individuals and groups had been allegedly trying to discredit the works of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera in crafting the contents of HB 5343 which is unfair and unethical on their part as of they have the monopoly of knowledge.
According to him, the RDC-CAR drafting committee chaired by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan had been time and again appealing to individuals and groups in the region to submit their proposals on the possible content5s of the house bill that will cater to the needs of the Cordillerans once autonomy will be realized but they failed to do so and now they are the ones opposing and even discrediting the bill which is actually not a good behavior of people claiming to be true bloodied Cordillerans.
Mangaoang added that Cordillera lawmakers are making the needed representations with the concerned leaders of the House to calendar HB 5343 for initial deliberations in the House committee on local government and other House committee while awaiting the desired certification from the President so that its passage will be able to catch up with the BBL once Congress decides to act on it the soonest to prevent the Cordillera from being left out in the future.