BAGUIO CITY – Cordillerans in the House of Representatives Baguio City Representative Mark Go and Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Asec. Orville Ballitoc urged to look into improving the Cordillera Organic Act in Congress in preparation for the 18th Congress. They both acknowledged the little time remaining in the 17th Congress to realistically pass the bill establishing Cordillera autonomy during the NEDA-CAR Autonomy year-end assessment on December 20, 2018.
Explaining the process of having a bill passed into law as an officer of PLLO, Asec. Orville Ballitoc said, “we have so much time for preparation and organizing for the 18th Congress”. He emphasized that Cordillerans and advocates of autonomy should not be discouraged as this is an opportunity to have the bill improved and therefore need less time for deliberation in the next Congress.
Referring to Cordillera autonomy, Cong. Mark Go said, “this was not in my agenda when I ran in 2016, but I am convinced that autonomy is for the betterment of the region”. He promised to devote his remaining time in the 17th Congress into refining the bill along with the technical working group for HB 5343.
RDC-Vice Chair Dir. Milagros Rimando of NEDA-CAR, the lead agency in the renewed pursuit of Cordillera autonomy, was inspired by the message of Assistant Secretary Ballitoc. She recognized the significant steps the advocacy has made since filing the bill in 2017. However, she added that while the information campaign to raise awareness and gain support for autonomy has grown, the actual work to get the bill ratified and ready for plebiscite entails more work.
Regardless of the elected representatives for the 18th Congress, the Regional Development Council continues to pursue autonomy as the best way to achieve just and lasting peace and sustainable development in the region.
By Marlo T. Lubguban