BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan emphasized that the passage of the House version on charter change on second reading should be a wakeup call for Cordillderans to strengthen their efforts in lobbying for the immediate enactment into law of House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera.
The local chief executive claimed that whether or not the provisions on the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Mindanao were retained in the House version of charter change, there is a need for Cordillerans to unite in working for the realization of the creation of the ARC so that robust development will start flourishing in the remote communities of the region in the coming years.
“We should all be inspired to work extra hard for the passage of our own autonomy bill so that we will be able to prepare our region for self-governance and for us to chart our development directions,” Domogan stressed.
He urged various autonomy advocates to continue convincing Cordillera congressmen who authored HB 5343 to start making representations with the House committee on local government so that it will be calendared for deliberations considering that enormous support that the proposed bill received from Mindanao lawmakers when the measure was initially calendared for deliberations in the committee level last August.
According to him, Mindanao lawmakers were vocal about their support to the passage of the proposed autonomy bill for the Cordillera but it seems there are no Cordillera congressmen who is interested to champion the bill in the House so that it will be passed while awaiting the action of the Senate committee on local government on the three pending autonomy bills for the region in the upper chamber.
He asserted that Cordillera congressmen should sustain the lobbying that they had done for the proposed autonomy measure to be initially calendared for committee deliberations so that those lawmakers who are members of the House committee on local government will be convinced that Cordillerans are really interested to achieve autonomy like what happened to the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
While there are still improvements that are needed in the proposed autonomy law, Domogan called on the different sectors in the region to start formalizing their suggestions and recommendations for possible sponsorships that will be done by the Cordillera congressmen prior to the approval of the final version of the measure which will be the one that will be submitted to plenary debates in the house the soonest possible time.
He argued that whatever provisions of the BOL that seem to be beneficial to the Cordillera should also be adopted and incorporated in the Cordillera autonomy bill considering that the same was approved for Muslim Mindanao, thus, there will be no legal impediment for its inclusion in the pending autonomy measure as both bills have similar legal and constitutional basis which is the 1987 Constitution that mandates the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.
By Dexter A. See