BAGUIO CITY – The realization of autonomy in the Cordillera will not be for the present generation but will be for the future generations of Cordillerans who reap the fruits of self-governance that is being clamoured from the national government, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said during the kick off ceremony of the Unity Gong Relay here.
The local chief executive asserted he will remain a staunch advocate for autonomy regardless of what will be its outcome so that the future generation of Cordillerans will not put the blame on the previous generations on why they were not able to work out the attainment of self-governance which is the ultimate solution to the current predicaments of various stakeholders on the snail-paced development, among others.
“We are elated over the increasing awareness of Cordillerans on the real essence of autonomy but we need to continue working extra hard to convert such awareness to votes in favour of autonomy once Congress crafts an autonomy law that is acceptable to the people,” Domogan stressed.
While he is alarmed over the possible deletion of the constitutional provision mandating the establishment of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera with the shift from the current presidential to federal form of government by the Duterte administration, the city mayor pointed out that it this is the opportune time for realizing the constitutionally mandated autonomous region, and not to wait for the issue to be overtaken by events in the future.
According to him, the future generation of Cordillerans will be the ones that will enjoy the advantages and benefits of autonomy but the realization of the quest for self-governance must be done by the present generation so that ‘our children and our children’s children will not blame us for failing to work for it and grab the opportunity granted to us by the Constitution.’
He opined that while it is true that autonomy can exist within a federal state, Cordillerans should not wait for that state because the situation might be different in the future, thus, it is high time that the autonomy bill be passed and subsequently ratified by the people in order to establish the autonomous region prior to the establishment of the federal state.
Domogan expressed optimism that the Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly to be created to introduce amendments to the 1987 Constitution to realize the aspiration of the Duterte administration for a shift to federal form of government, will not outrightly delete the existing constitutional provisions mandating the establishment of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera.
Various stakeholders regionwide stipulated that there is still a need to continue and expand the existing programs and projects leading towards the realization of autonomy with the inclusion of federalism in the advocacy so that people will be able to understand that autonomy can still exist even in a federal form of government that will reflect the uniqueness of the Cordillerans in terms of land area, type of people, culture and traditions among others.
By Dexter A. See