Cordillera lawmakers are eying the passage of House Bill (HB) 3267 that seeks the establishment of the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) in the House of Representatives before the adjournment of Congress by the first week of June this year.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog, Jr. and Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, all who spearheaded the public consultation on the autonomy bill, claimed that the bill is being calendared for plenary debates once Congress resumes its first regular session by the second week of May for this to be approved on second and third readings before going on adjournment synergy.
Mangaoang said that the Cordillera representatives want that the autonomy bill be first passed by the House so that there will be a compelling reason for them to request for a meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for him to certify the bill as a priority administration measure.
Further, the planned meeting with the President will be scheduled before the Chief Executive will deliver his second State of the National Address (SONA) before the joint session of Congress by the 4th week of July so that he will include this in his upcoming address.
For his part, Rep. Go stipulated that the approved House version of the autonomy bill will be submitted to Senator Robinhood Padilla who will author the Senate version and facilitate the immediate passage of the autonomy bill.
At present, no counterpart bill on the proposed autonomy law has been filed in the upper chamber of Congress.
The Kalinga lawmaker added that former and incumbent Cordillera leaders who will be meeting with the President will present to him the gathered signatures from the grassroots to support their request for the certification of the autonomy bill as a priority administration measure.
The Cordillera representatives expressed their gratitude to all the representatives of local governments, concerned government agencies, private sector, professional organizations and civil society organizations for their inputs on how to further improve the provisions of the autonomy bill before it will be subjected to the period of amendments right after the plenary debates in the House. The public consultation that was conducted in the city is part of the initiatives of Cordillera representatives to continue engaging the Cordillerans to provide their inputs on how to further improve the provisions of the autonomy bill so that it will address the development thrusts of the region when its current special administrative status will be converted to an autonomous region.
Dalog claimed that the establishment of the autonomous region will definitely solve the development woes of the Cordillera because it will be the regional government that will craft programs, policies and activities that are suitable to the present situation of the region contrary to the current set up where the region is bound to comply with whatever policies that will be handed down by the national government even if the same will not be applicable to the current state of the Cordillera.