No conflict on quest for autonomy, federalism

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan commended the members of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) that was created by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution for categorically clarifying that there is no conflict in the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and the proposed shift from the present unitary system to federal form of government.

Domogan, who personally graced the regional consultation on the amendment of the Constitution held in the city recently, urged the Cordillerans not to be confused on the two concepts of governance, autonomy and federalism, because they have actually similar purposes which are the decentralization of powers and resources and  the empowerment of the local governments to be resilient.

“WE are glad that the ConCom members were able to effectively and efficiently address the issues and concerns raised by concerned sectors on our clamor for autonomy and the shift to federal form of government being initiated by the present administration because we were able to win the hearts of our people to support the renewed quest for autonomy being spearheaded by the Regional Development Council,” Domogan stressed.

The local chief executive argued the putting in place of the 18 federated regions based on the initial ConCom draft Charter will definitely address the fear of most sectors that the Cordillera will be just a simple dot in the map when included in the previous proposal for the Federal State of Northern Luzon, thus, the Cordillera will still be intact.

Domogan underscored the doable and achievable mode at this time is to advance the renewed quest for autonomy because it has the legal basis to bank on which is Section 15, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution that mandates the establishments of Autonomous Regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.

Further, he added that once the autonomous region in the Cordillera will be in place prior to federalism, the autonomy law will be used as an appendix of the federal constitution and that whatever future demands of the region from the federal government will be contained in an Organic Act that will be crafted by the regional assembly.

He expressed fear that the realization of federalism will take a little more time than the region’s clamor for autonomy because of the need to first amend the 1987 Constitution that must pass through both chambers of Congress aside from the fact that the mode to amend the Charter has not yet been resolved by both Houses whether it will be done through the organization of a Constitutional Commission or the convening of Congress into a constituent assembly.

Domogan remains optimistic that the concerned committees of both chambers of Congress will calendar House Bill (HB) 5343 and Senate Bill (SB) 1678 that seek to establish an autonomous region in the Cordillera so that there will be a final version of the bill that will be the one that will be certified as urgent by the President similar to what he has done to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). He claimed that part of the amendments of the pending autonomy bills will be the salient points of the federated region of the Cordillera that were included in the draft Charter so that whatever issues that might arise will be addressed in both chambers before the enactment of the autonomy law.

By Dexter A. See

Banner photo: AUTONOMY TOWARDS FEDERALISM – Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who also chairs the Regional Development Council, confirmed that the RDC affirms the framework of Autonomy towards Federalism during the Federalism Town Hall meeting at Crown Legacy Hotel June 26. He also said that along with the continuing drive of Cordillera to attain Regional Autonomy, they also supports the national government’s campaign for the country to shift to a federal form of government. Photo by Lito Dar/PIA CAR

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