Palace still mindful of Cordillera autonomy

SAN GERNANDO CITY, La Union – A senior Palace official underscored that president Rodrigo R. Duterte is mindful of the renewed quest for autonomy of the Cordillera but opined that what is important is for concerned sectors in the region to constantly make noise to remind the President of the need to immediately act on the matter like what he did with the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Undersecretary Ryan Esteves of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) told autonomy advocates from the Cordillera that the passage into law of the proposed autonomy bills of the Cordillera now pending in both chambers of Congress is the right thing to do because the planned shift to federal form of government which is being espoused by the present administration will take some time to be realized.

He over emphasized that he wants the Cordillera to succeed in its efforts to achieve autonomy during the term of the sitting President because he also wants that there will be an autonomous region that should be established in Bicol with the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) serving as templates for the Bicol set up.

After the Memorandum of Presidential Peace adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to certify House Bill (HB) 5343 or the House version of the autonomy bill as urgent had been circulated to the various agencies, Esteves claimed that the Department of the Interior and Local government (DILG) already came out with an affirmative position endorsing the autonomy bills, thus, the need for Cordillera leaders and concerned stakeholders to help follow-up the matter with other government agencies for them to issue a positive position that could help fastrack the issuance of the certification from the President that the autonomy bills will be an urgent administration measure.

The Place official claimed that before the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), concerned officials from the Presidential Management Staff (PMS)inquired from him if the pending autonomy bills in both chambers of Congress were certified as urgent but he responded on the negative which means that the quest for cordillera autonomy is within the radar of the President and what has to be done is for Cordillerans to employ the appropriate lobbying with national leaders to help advance the cause for self-governance.

According t him, the PLLO can only do certain things that will help in advancing the pending autonomy bills but more importantly, Cordillera leaders and concerned sectors must remain united in advancing the clamor for regional autonomy so that the lawmakers and the President will be convinced to advance the deliberations of the bills until it will be able to reach the office of the President for his signature.

Esteves claimed that once the President issues a certification that the penning autonomy bills are urgent administration measures, the same could be passed into law within a period of one week that is why Cordillerans must take advantage of the enabling environment provided by the present administration to achieve autonomous status and allow the planned shift to federal form of government takes its course.

He explained that it is now up to the Cordillerans to grab the opportunity provided by the Duterte administration to achieve autonomy and still be part of the federal government once it will be realized in the future. By HENT

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