BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan gained the support of various lawmakers from the different congressional districts on the proposed House Bill (HB) 5343 filed by all Cordillera congressmen seeking for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera after having presented to the members of the House committee on constitutional amendments the renewed quest for regional autonomy.
Domogan, who served as one of the resource persons during the hearing called for by the House committee on constitutional amendments in Manila Wednesday, said that he was able to impress upon the lawmakers that the proposed Cordillera autonomy bill was an improvement of the autonomy law of Muslim Mindanao legislated over two decades ago.
He explained that in the case of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the regional line agencies were totally abolished and the autonomous regional government relied on the meagre subsidy of the national government to bankroll the implementation of development projects and the delivery of basic services to the people in the ARMM which actually defeated the purpose of achieving self-governance.
Under the proposed Cordillera autonomy bill, Domogan pointed out the regional line agencies will co-exist with the autonomous regional government and the regional government will simply exercise supervisory functions over the said agencies.
He added the regional line agencies that will co-exist with the regional government will implement programs which will be prioritized by the regional government instead of being tied up with the standards of the national government.
For this year alone, he disclosed the various projects being implemented by the different line agencies in the region amount to over P28 billion which will be an added boost to the region’s development thrust apart from the subsidy being provided by the national government and the internal revenue allotment of local governments as well as their internally generated funds.
According to him, when the regional line agencies were abolished in the ARMM, the regional government had a difficult time apportioning the previous P12 billion annual subsidy being provided by the national government, which was later increased to P30 billion, for all its requirements.
The local chief executive underscored that the Cordillera autonomy gained allies in the House after the lawmakers were clarified of their queries vis-a-vis the government’s thrust of shifting from the current presidential form to federal form, citing the fact that the road map of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera is autonomy towards federalism.
The former lawmaker was also able to impart to the members of the House committee that the enactment of the Cordillera autonomy bill into law is urgent once President Rodrigo R. Duterte will certify it as an urgent administration measure together with the Bangsamoro Basic Law of Mindanao which is now being reviewed by the Office of the President before it will be filed in Congress in the coming weeks.
By Dexter A. See