BAGUIO – “PLLO will be very supportive of this, the next 4 months will be very crucial”, said Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Usec. Ryan Esteves in a workshop with the Regional Development Council (RDC) last June 8. He committed PLLO’s support to the passage of the proposed Cordillera organic act and shared that it is more likely to be passed with the recent passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The workshop was made possible through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, RDC’s staunch autonomy partner. The RDC through its secretariat, the National Economic and Development Authority – CAR (NEDA-CAR) agreed to reach out to PLLO as one of its strategies in advancing the proposed organic act since the latter is mandated to promote Presidential legislative initiatives and other Administration-sponsored priority policy reforms and development programs.
Comparing with the passed version of the BBL, Usec. Esteves said that “there are no constitutional objections in this [Cordillera] organic act”. He added, “In fact, we received a87 letter from DILG saying that they have no objections to the [Cordillera autonomy] bill. This was signed by no other than Secretary Año”.
Usec. Esteves advised that while there is a lot of time for the campaign, the leaders and officials of CAR must be wary of the upcoming national budget preparations and national election season.
Meantime, RDC Chair and Baguio City Mayor Domogan also shared that the Consultative Committee tasked to amend the 1987 Constitution maintains the provision providing autonomy for Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera in the proposed Federal constitution.
NEDA have since intensified its efforts in gaining allies for autonomy in the regional and national levels. It urged all Cordillera provinces, cities and municipalities to pass resolutions in support of autonomy towards federalism as a show of force to Congress. NEDA subsequently updated Congress on the status of the public hearings on House Bill 5343.
The RDC and NEDA emphasized that autonomy for Muslim Mindanao has the exact same Constitutional basis as autonomy for the Cordillera. Thus, the autonomy leaders have requested the President to certify the House Bill 5343 as a priority bill.
By Marlo T. Lubguban