BAGUIO CITY – Autonomy advocates have obviously given up on the realization of the renewed pursuit for Cordillera self-governance during the remaining term of office of President
Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and focused their sights on 2019 as the new timetable for the attainment of self-rule in the region.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan cited the Aquino administration has focused its sights on the immediate passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for the attainment of supposed lasting peace in Mindanao and turned its back on the renewed pursuit for Cordillera autonomy which is supposed to be one of the government’s equally important obligation under the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
“We are not giving up on our long overdue aspiration for autonomy. We are simply adjusting our timetable to what will be more realistic for us so that we will not be forcing the issue,” Domogan stressed.
The local chief executive pointed out the upcoming conduct of public hearings by the House committee on local government this month in relation to House Bill (HB) 4649 should still push through despite the adjustment of the timetable because it will open up more opportunities for the regional concern to be magnified and the support of the people to be relayed to our lawmakers for them to act on the said measure.
While it is true that it took the House committee on local government more than a year to calendar the public hearings on the proposed autonomy law regionwide, Domogan cited Cordillerans should still be grateful to the efforts of lawmakers to give the bill a chance to move in the committee level so that when the same will be submitted to the next Congress, there will be available records on how the people feel about the pursuit for self-governance.
According to him, completing the consultations the earliest possible time will serve as a guide for future members of Congress to act on the proposed autonomy bill will be filed in the next administration, thus, the realization of regional autonomy by 2019 will be fulfilled.
He revealed one of the salient features of the pending autonomy bill is that all Cordillera congressmen authored the bill to show that they are singing the same tune in terms of the renewed pursuit for self-governance and to continuously send the message to President Aquino that granting autonomy to the Cordillera is one of his legacies considering that he will be completing her mother’s dream of establishing an autonomous region in the Cordillera.
Autonomy advocates believe establishing the autonomous region in the Cordillera will be the ultimate solution in moving out the people from the shackles of poverty because the regional government can craft applicable policies with lesser restraint from outside forces.
The issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 220 on July 15, 1987 by former President Corazon C. Aquino was a product of the ‘sipat,’ peace agreement she entered with the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) in Mount Data, Bauko, Mountain Province on September 13, 2986 and that the same was primarily geared towards administering the affairs of government in the region, accelerating the socio-economic development of the region and primarily prepare the region for autonomy.
Domogan asserted Cordillerans should reflect on themselves why the region was unable to achieve the prescribed autonomy when it was presented to them twice. By Dexter A. See