TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The technical working group of the House committee on appropriations is currently reviewing the budget that will be provided by the national government to the proposed cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) to be able to sustain its existence for the first ten years once the pending autonomy bills will be enacted into law in the future.
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House committee on national cultural communities and indigenous peoples, expressed hope that the |TWH will be able to complete the data to support its recommendations when Congress will resume its sessions by May 8, 2023 so that the House committee on rules will be able to calendar House Bill (HB) 3267 which seeks to create the CAR for initial plenary debates.
He pointed out that the TWG will try to look into the sources of revenue of the autonomous region as defined in the bill and the current resources of the government to assess the support that the national government can provide to the autonomous region for it to be sustainable during the prescribed transition period.
Aside from its share from the various sources of income of the national government, the autonomy bill wants the national government to provide the autonomous regional government with an annual subsidy of P10 billion for the first 5 years of its existence and some P5 billion annually for the next 5 years which will be shared by the regional government and the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.
Earlier, the House committees on local government, ways and means and appropriations approved HB 3267 that seeks to establish the CAR where the same is now pending in the House committee on rules for it to be calendared for plenary debates in the coming months.
The 3-term Kalinga lawmaker expressed hope that the House version of the autonomy bill will be passed before Congress will adjourn synergy by June so that the same could be immediately transmitted to the Senate for the passage of the required counterpart bill.
During the 18th Congress, HB 10729 or the consolidated bill seeking the establishment of the CAR was approved on third and final reading on May 30, 2022 and was immediately transmitted to the Senate on May 31, 2022 for the supposed passage of the counterpart bill but it did not materialize because Congress adjourned synergy on June 11, 2022.
He said that the establishment of the long overdue autonomous region will definitely help in speeding up the development of the remote areas in the Cordillera because the regional government will be empowered to enact measures that are applicable to the current state of the region so that it will not be hostaged by the policies and programs of the national government that are not actually applicable to the prevailing situation in the region.
Congressman Mangaoang assured the people that autonomy will be the way to go in terms of growth and development in the region that is why they should not hesitate in voting in favor of the autonomy law once it will be submitted to them for ratification during a plebiscite that will be scheduled by the Commission on election (Comelec) for the said purpose.