TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Two Cordillera congressmen reaffirmed their all-out support to the ongoing quest for autonomy and the filing of the bill in the House of Representatives the soonest so that the same will not be overtaken by events in the 18th Congress.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said the Cordillera congressmen are awaiting the draft of the proposed Organic Act currently being worked out by the drafting committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) to serve as their basis in filing the proposed autonomy law while pursuing the needed network with other lawmakers to ensure the immediate passage of the bill.
“We need the draft of the proposed Organic Act from the RDC because the output of the drafting committee is the product of grassroots consultations as we do not have the luxury of time to do the needed consultations. We trust the work of the RDC because it is composed of representatives of different sectors, both private and public,” Rep. Mangaoang stressed.
In the 17th Congress, Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos, Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, former Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, former Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr., Kalinga Rep. Mangaoang and the late Mountain Province Rep. Maximo B. Dalog, Sr. filed House Bill HB 5343 that sought to establish the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) which was stalled in the House committee on local government.
Mangaoang disclosed Cordillera lawmakers will be meeting to discuss the needed strategies to be adopted by autonomy advocates to lobby for the passage of the proposed autonomy law once the same will be filed in Congress by the Cordillera lawmakers to ensure its immediate approval before the end of the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
On his part, Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr. said he will support the upcoming filing of the bill that seeks to establish the autonomous region because of its expected benefits in terms of speeding up the development of rural communities in the different parts of the region thus balancing of development in both urban and rural areas around the region.
Dalog expressed optimism the CAR will be ending the celebration of its founding anniversary the soonest so that it will also celebrate the establishment of the autonomous region which had been long overdue.
He supported the pronouncement of Rep. Mangaoang that he will be one of the first to sign the proposed autonomy law once the RDC-CAR will submit its completed draft to the Cordillera congressmen for review before the filing of the same to ensure that the bill will be acted upon by the committee where it will be assigned the soonest to avoid unnecessary delays in its passage.
The neophyte lawmaker believes that the region’s third attempt to achieve autonomy will be the defining moment for the Cordillera after the two failed attempts to realize the constitutional provision mandating the establishment of the autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.