BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan agreed to the contention of advocates and critics of the proposed shift to federal form of government that the realization of the proposal will take a long period of time, thus, the need for Cordillerans to embrace what had been legally and constitutionally provided that is the establishment of the autonomous region.
The local chief executive explained the proposed shift to federal form of government requires the amendment of the provisions of the 1987 Constitution that will surely take some time while the establishment of the autonomous region is clearly provided in the fundamental law of the land and the only thing left to do is for the enactment into law of pending bills in both chambers of Congress mandating the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC).
“The removal of the Cordillera and the Bangsamoro regions in the version of the House of Representatives on the federal charter should serve as a serious warning to Cordillerans that there is a big chance for the eventual split of the Cordillera Administrative Region once Congress will pass the pending version of the charter, thus, it should also empower us to vigorously lobby for the enactment into law of our own autonomy measures before it will be too late in the day,” Domogan stressed.
He expressed disappointment over the fact that after having signed and filed House Bill (HB) 5343 that seeks to establish the ARC, no one among the Cordillera congressmen seem to be mindful in ensuring the continuous deliberations of the pending autonomy bill despite the commitment of Mindanao congressmen to support the passage of the autonomy law like what happened to the approval of the Bangamoro Organic Law.
According to him, the establishment of the ARC prior to the proposed shift to federal form of government will allow the region to have a leverage in negotiating for the recognition of the autonomous region within a federal state considering that such arrangement is actually allowed to be able to maintain the unity of the region.
Aside from HB 5343, other bills concerning the establishment of the ARC are also pending in the Senate, particularly Senate Bill (SB) No. 1678 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, SB No. 1923 authored by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito and SB No. 1930 authored by Senator Paulo Benigno Bam Aquino IV, which are now pending in the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara.
Domogan underscored that now is the right time to achieve autonomy for the Cordillera because of the overwhelming support being shown by the present administration to the region’s clamor for self-governance that is why Cordillerans should not lose the opportunity of achieving autonomy because it might be overtaken by events once there will be supervening events that will transpire in the coming years which will be beyond the control of leaders from the different parts of the region.
He reiterated the arguments in support of autonomy wherein the region will be allowed to craft policies, programs and projects applicable to the peculiar situation of the region that will result to faster pace of development thereby translating to better economic status of the region I the future.
By Dexter A. See