TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The House committee on appropriations approved House Bill (HB) 3267, authored by all Cordillera district representatives, seeking the establishment of the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said that the proposed autonomy law will be transmitted to the House committee on rules for the same to be calendared for plenary debates, approval on second reading, period of amendments and third reading.
He expressed hope that the House committee on rules will calendar this for preliminary debates before Congress goes on their usual Holy Week break by the third week of March so that the bill will already advance in the lower House while awaiting the counterpart bill in the Senate.
The Kalinga lawmaker pointed out that since the proposed autonomy bill had been extensively deliberated and approved by the members of the 18th Congress, the measure will not encounter rough sailing in the 19th Congress so that the Cordillera will have its third crack for the establishment of the long-overdue autonomous region.
According to him, numerous members in the Senate have already pledged their support for the passage of the proposed autonomy law but the contents of this must come from the Cordillera lawmakers through the bill that will be passed by the House to avoid conflicting provisions that could be immediately addressed once the House and Senate versions will be subjected to the bicameral conference committee.
Earlier, the House committee on local government and committee on ways and means approved the proposed autonomy law during the previous months leading to its transmittal to the House committee on appropriations for appropriate action by the said body in terms of the financial aspect of the bill to ensure the sustained operation of the autonomous region.
Mangaoang expressed hope that this proposed autonomy law could be submitted to the Cordillerans for ratification by 2024 so that the autonomous region could already be established before the May 2025 midterm elections and for the people to be able to elect the first set of officials of the autonomous region which will depend on the provisions in the final version of the autonomy law.
Based on a series of pulse surveys conducted by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera, there is a significant increase in the awareness of Cordillerans on the region’s renewed quest for autonomy which could be translated into votes in favor of the autonomy law when submitted for ratification to the people during a plebiscite that will be scheduled for the said purpose.
On May 30, 2022, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading HB 10729 or the consolidated autonomy bill and this was subsequently transmitted to the Senate on May 31, 2022, but this did not push through as the 18th Congress adjourned on June 1, 2022.
In 2006, the RDC-CAR approved autonomy as its overarching agenda for the sustainable growth and development of the region pursuant to the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.