BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged Cordillera lawmakers who happen to be the principal authors of House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) to exert extra efforts in lobbying for the continuous conduct of committee hearings that will allow the passage of the same in the committee level and eventually by the plenary of the House of Representatives.
Domogan, who chairs the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR), said various sectors in the region are awaiting the desired action of Cordillera lawmakers in the House on how to advance the pending autonomy bill so that they will also able to do their counterparts that will eventually allow the enactment of the bill into a law.
While it seems that the chances of the pending autonomy bill of being passed by the two chambers of Congress seem to be bleak because of the remaining limited session days in the 17th Congress, he challenged Cordillera lawmakers to show their interest in pursuing the passage of HB 5343 which they have authored to give justice to the snowballing clamor of stakeholders for autonomy towards federalism.
“We need somebody in Congress who will closely followup the status of our proposed autonomy bill so that the members of the House committee on local government will be able to act on it the soonest, especially that the House was able to complete the deliberations of the proposed national budget and the extension of martial law in Mindanao,” Domogan stressed.
Aside from HB 5343 which is now pending in the House committee on local government, there are also three pending proposed autonomy bills for the Cordillera in the Senate committee on local government, particularly Senate Bill (SB) 1678 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, SB 1923 authored by Senator Paulo Benigno Bam Aquino IV and SB 1930 authored by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.
When HB 5343 was initially calendared for committee deliberations by the House committee on local government last August 14, 2018, Mindanao lawmakers committed their all-out support to the immediate passage of the proposed law and for the authors to submit the final version of the law that will be acted upon by the committee the soonest.
However, various sectors in the region were disappointed that the House committee on local government did not calendar the final version of the proposed autonomy law for still unknown reasons so that the same could have been submitted for plenary debates probably by early next year.
Earlier, the RDC-CAR embraced autonomy as an overarching agenda in 2006 to help in spurring economic growth that will contribute in improving the condition of growth and development in the remote villages of the region.
Autonomy advocates asserted that self-governance is the only way to go for the region to achieve development because the regional government will be able to maximize the utilization of its available resources with lesser restraint from outside forces. Which is the system that is currently being practiced that is why the development if the Cordillera is too slow.
By Dexter A. See