BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that the local government and other Cordillerans will fully support the conduct of the federalism caravan by the members of the Constitutional Commission (CoCom) created by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to consult with the Filipino people on their preferred type of government but with the assertion that in the Cordillera, it will be autonomy towards federalism.
The local chief executive explained that during the caravan, Cordillerans will reiterate to the ConCom members their position that autonomous status should be granted to the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as pursued by the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) because it is clearly provided in Section 15, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution.
“We are elated that the ConCom members are listening to our plight that the provision granting autonomy to the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao will not be deleted during the amendment of the 1987 Constitution to allow the crafting of an autonomy bill that will be acceptable to the Cordillerans once the third crack for the put up of an autonomous region will again be rejected by the Cordillerans for the failure of their desired provisions to be incorporated in the proposed autonomy law,” Domogan stressed.
He disclosed that ConCom delegates from the Cordillera, particularly Dr. Virgilio Bautista from Baguio City and former Rep. Lawrence Wacnang from Kalinga, are pushing for the retention of the provision of the Constitution mandating the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao in the Constitution that will be crafted once Filipinos will support the planned shift from presidential to federal form of government which is one of the advocacies of the present administration.
According to him, the region’s renewed quest for autonomy has an existing legal and constitutional basis while the panned shift to federal form of government might take more time because of the need to first amend the pertinent provisions of the 1987 Constitution that will embrace whatever will be the outcome of the federal caravan that will be conducted nationwide.
Domogan emphasized that it is now the best time for the Cordillerans to aggressively push for the realization of the constitutional provision mandating the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera because of the enabling environment wherein the President is supportive of efforts for the decentralization of powers and resources to allow equitable development of rural communities that were left behind in the quest for growth and development in the past administrations.
Earlier, all Cordillera congressmen filed House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish an autonomous region in the Cordillera in the House last year while its counterpart, Senate Bill (SB) 1678, authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri was recently filed in the senate awaiting whatever action of the concerned committees on local government from both chambers.
Domogan emphasized the need to pursue the conduct of the public consultations regionwide to party inform and educate the people on the real essence of autonomy and to solicit their insights on what other provisions that should be included in the autonomy bill that will be crafted which will be acceptable to the Cordillerans that will result to the ratification of the autonomy law once submitted to the people for ratification in a plebiscite that will be scheduled for the purpose. By Dexter A. See