BAUKO, Mountain Province – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr. assured autonomy advocates and the people of the Cordillera of his all-out support to the region’s quest for autonomy which will be instrumental in speeding up the region’s growth and progress.
Galvez, who was the guest of honor and speaker during the celebration of the 36th anniversary of the historic Mount Data ‘sipat’ held at the Mount Data Hotel grounds here, pointed out that the Cordillera has a good chance of achieving autonomy with the successful transition being undertaken by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The Palace official requested all the region’s barangays, municipalities, cities and provinces to come out with their respective position papers for autonomy which he will use as a basis in making a memorandum to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to certify the pending autonomy bills in the House and the Senate as one of the priority legislative agenda of the present administration to ensure the immediate passage of the same.
Secretary Galvez claimed that the aforesaid formula was instrumental in the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in the previous Congress that paved the way for the establishment of the BARMM.
In fact, he disclosed that the BARMM is now getting an annual block grant of approximately P60 billion aside from realized savings of around P100 billion for 2020 and 2021.
Further, Secretary Galvez reported that the BARMM’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) jumped to 7.5 percent after being at the bottom for several decades in terms of GRDP. The current standing of the BARMM in terms of GRDP is second to Region IV-A.
The peace adviser stipulated that since joining the BARMM several years ago, the poverty rate of the Lanao provinces dropped to a single digit at 9.5 percent which was a big leap from the previous 20 to 30 percent poverty rate in the said provinces.
Secretary Galvez underscored that the Cordillera is in a good situation because the anniversary of the Mount Data peace agreement falls on the birthday of President Marcos which is already a good advantage aside from the Cordillera being part of the Solid North cluster.
According to him 2024 will be a good year in which the Cordillera will be achieving its autonomous status with the support and cooperation of the people because the remaining months of the year could be used as the preparatory stage while next year will be the mobilization of concerned stakeholders who would have to work double time to cascade the benefits of the Cordillera being converted into an autonomous region.
He emphasized that President Marcos supports the region’s quest for autonomy but the vibrant clamor for self-governance must come from the Cordillerans through the various position papers that will be submitted by the concerned sectors so that there will be a basis in convincing him to issue the much required certification that the pending autonomy bills are urgent administration measures which must be passed the soonest.
Last August 8, 2022, Cordillera congressmen filed House Bill (HB) 3267 which seeks to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) after the same was only approved in the level of the House committee on local government in the 18th Congress.