Peaceful means to achieve autonomy asserted

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored the importance of enhancing the peaceful efforts of Cordillerans to achieve the long overdue establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera to send a clear message to the national leaders that the aspiration of the region for self-governance could be realized through peaceful initiatives.

The local chief executive pointed out while Cordillerans are sometimes tempted to create trouble in the region to gain the attention of national leaders, like what is happening in Mindanao, the Cordillerans sincerely desire to sustain the gains of the region’s renewed quest for autonomy through peaceful means because peace is still the best way to gain the support of national leaders on the desire of the people for self-rule.

“We had been receiving mixed signals from Cordillerans to create noise in the region through violence just to gain the attention of the national government to recognize our efforts to achieve autonomy but the prevailing sentiment among autonomy advocates is that we must continue to strengthen our quest for self-rule through peaceful means,” Domogan stressed.

He added the culture of the Cordillerans is totally different from the Muslims of Mindanao and it is still best to embrace peaceful initiatives in getting the attention of national officials on the autonomy drive by having lawmakers pass pending legislations for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera.

Aside from the series of fora to be organized in both chambers of Congress for lawmakers to be updated on the region’s efforts for autonomy, Domogan explained that the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Cotabato-based Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG) are working out a meeting between Muslim and Cordillera lawmakers for the simultaneous deliberation of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and House Bill (HB) 5343, the Cordillera autonomy bill which resulted from the first forum on Cordillera autonomy conducted in the House of Representatives last January 17, 2018.

According to him, Cordillerans have matured in lobbying for autonomy and proposals for violent means to achieve autonomy are not acceptable as what is important is to strengthen the lobbying with national leaders for the passage of the proposed autonomy law.

He agreed with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza that now is the opportune time for Cordillerans to work for the establishment of the constitutionally-mandated autonomous region seizing the President Rodrigo Duterte’s is supportive of decentralization or empowering the local governments to have a stake on developments in their areas of jurisdiction.

The RDC-CAR chairman claimed the upcoming meeting of Cordillera and Muslim lawmakers will definitely be a significant development in the quest for Cordillera autonomy because Muslim leaders have vowed to tackle HB 5343 side by side with the BBL even without the certification from the Office of the President that the Cordillera autonomy bill is an urgent administration measure to have the mandated autonomous regions established prior to the planned shift to federal form of government. By Dexter A. See

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