BAGUIO CITY – Cordillera officials expressed their gratitude to former Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza for his commitment to continue supporting a stronger lobby for the passage of pending bills in both chambers of Congress for the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) to complete the government’s peace initiatives in the north after the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, chair of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR), said the former Palace official’s statement aired over RPN-DZBS Baguio stating that he will not abandon his unrelenting and uncompromising support to the Cordillera’s quest for autonomy should inspire Cordillerans to strengthen the ongoing lobby for the passage of pending bills in Congress that seek to establish the ARC.
“We are elated former Secretary Dureza will revive his foundation to help us strengthen the lobby in Congress for the passage of the pending autonomy bills. We also value his commitment to frequent the Cordilleras next year as a private person to continue what he left behind in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and as a staunch supporter of the President,” Domogan stressed.
The city mayor stated that while Cordillerans feel orphaned with the former Secretary’s untimely resignation from his valuable post in the President’s Cabinet, his dedication and passion to pursue the lobby for the passage of the pending autonomy bills should inspire Cordillerans to unite and work towards the establishment of the ARC which will guarantee the region’s permanent identity, the crafting of fitting policies, programs and projects for the region and progress for all.
Domogan reiterated his position that autonomy is a key to robust development of the region as an autonomous regional government can plan the programs, projects and activities apt for the context of region unlike in the present centralized set-up where all programs and activities of government agencies emanate from the central government even if these are not suitable to the peculiar situation of the Cordillera with its mountainous geography and indigenous communities.
Kalinga Rep. and Mountain Province caretaker congressman Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang was also elated upon learning the former peace adviser made a commitment to continue helping the Cordillerans lobby for the passage of the autonomy bills pending in both chambers of Congress, saying that such pronouncement from a former Palace aide will definitely strengthen the established mechanisms of the RDC-CAR on lobbying lawmakers for the passage of the bills.
“We hope to continue strengthening our established network with the former peace adviser because he is our direct link to the Mindanao lawmakers who committed their support to the passage of the Cordillera autonomy bill once submitted for plenary deliberations in the House,” Mangaoang said.
Earlier, Dureza assured Cordillerans his resignation from his post will not be a setback to the region’s renewed quest for autonomy because he will have more time to be in the Cordillera and help lobby for the passage of the pending autonomy bills so that the government’s peace cycle will be completed before the President steps down from office in June 2022.
By Dexter A. See
Banner photo: ADOPTED – Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in native attire, joins Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza in an ethnic dance during the turn-over of the Cordillera Unity Gong to Baguio City from the province of Ifugao. Sec. Dureza was invited as guest speaker and eventually was adopted as son of the region. He was given the name ”Mensapit” meaning a peace maker. (July 16, 2017, photo taken on July 14, 2017) JOSEPH B. MANZANO