BAGUIO CITY – Ms. Imelda Sedano, Chief of Staff of Baguio City Representative Mark Go, emphasized the commitment of Congressman Go to pursue Cordillera regional autonomy during the 32nd anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) celebration at the Baguio City Hall on July 13, 2019.
Cordillera regional autonomy has been a long struggle of the region. Overtaken by the 2019 elections and the federalism movement, the most recent draft autonomy bill, the HB 5343 commissioned by the Regional Development Council (RDC) and filed during the 17th congress, failed to pass the second reading. As the 18th Congress commences, Sedano expressed Congressman Go’s support to push forth the autonomy advocacy.
“We hereby, commit to heed the ideals and aspirations of the Cordillera. We respond to the call of the gong with an open heart and a receptive mind. We will support what is good, what is just and what is equitable. As such, we commit to do our best to create opportunities for dialogue, avenues for discussions and reasoned exchanges to reach our goal for autonomy”, Sedano relayed.
Sedano cited their participation in the Indigenous Peoples’ Legislative Assembly in Baguio last December 2018 where Cordillera Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) leaders and representatives crafted their own recommendations for the autonomy bill then-pending in the 17th Congress.
The resolute desire and understanding of the IP leaders for regional autonomy made Congressman Go even more determined to rally for autonomy and consider their proposals on the new autonomy house bill to be filed during this 18th Congress.
She further expressed Congressman Go’s observation on the pursuit of regional autonomy, recognizing that the lack of information and unity which caused the failed ratification of the two plebiscites in 1990 and 1998 is no longer true today: “…today, more than ever, even at the lowest level of the Barangay – people are more informed, there is more involvement, more interest and more understanding of our plight for autonomy. Today… we are more than united than ever before.”
She ended her speech by emphasizing the importance of unity in the achievement of our autonomy aspiration. “Truly, through an informed consensus – we will all finally reach our goal as the people of the Cordillera”, she concluded.
By Zhaira Kate L. Chinayo