BAGUIO CITY – The draft Executive Order to accelerate the socio-economic development of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) through the provision of added resources which will be submitted to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III for signature will not sideline the gains of the region’s renewed pursuit for regional autonomy but instead accelerate the same for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cordillerans.
Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin, chairman of the Cordillera office of the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR), said the proposed EO is considered a step towards enhancing the region’s renewed pursuit for self-governance and that the same should be given a chance, especially that the crafting of the EO emanated from no less than the President in several meetings with Apayao Gov. Elias C. Bulut, Jr. and Kalinga Gov. Jocel C. Baac.
“We will consolidate our efforts in order to help achieve gains in our bid for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera and one of the initial gains is the crafting of the EO,” Bersamin stressed.
Milagros A. Rimando, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) and RDC-CAR vice chairman, said the EO was already finalized and already transmitted by the Cordillera governors and congressmen to the Office of the President for his signature.
“Our aspiration for autonomy will still remain strong, it will have the same intensity until we are able to achieve our long overdue aspiration for self-rule,” Rimando said.
Aside from mandating the government to grant additional resources to the Cordillera, she disclosed one of the salient points of the proposed EO is to increase the fund for the social preparation of CAR for an autonomous region from the current P15 to P30 million in order to intensify the information and education campaign, alliance building, capability building and program management.
According to her, the renewed pursuit for regional autonomy has gained ground over the past seven years since the RDC-CAR embraced autonomy as one of its overarching programs.
She explained the EO also mandates the national government to implement Section 22 of EO 220 which mandates that the CAR shall receive an equitable share of the taxes and other government revenues generated in the CAR territorial coverage. For this purpose, as part of the BIR allotment in the region, the CAR and the local government units within the Cordillera Administrative Region’s territorial coverage shall have at least fifty percent (50%) share of such taxes and other government revenues to be distributed as follows: ten percent (10%) to barangays, ten percent (107.) to municipalities, fifteen percent (15%) to provinces or cities, fifteen percent (15%) to the CAR.
Rimando expressed confidence the President will favourably act on the proposed EO in order to spice up the clamor for regional autonomy in order to achieve the mandate of the 1987 Constitution that provides for the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Minadano and the Cordillera.
“CAR pursuant to EO 220 is already a special region that is why the perception that we are clamouring for a special region is misplaced since what is provided is to accelerate the socio-economic growth of the Cordillera,” Rimando said. By Dexter A. See