BAGUIO CITY – Presidential Communications office Secretary Martin Andanar said President Rodrigo R. Duterte fully supports the renewed quest for autonomy by the Cordillera vis-à-vis his major platform for the shift of the presidential form of government to federal because autonomy and federalism co-exists with each other.
Andanar, who was in town for the country’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit that falls in time with the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN, said that for as long as the President will continue to advocate for federalism with full steam, then there will be bright prospects for the realization of the region’s quest for autonomy and self-governance.
“There will surely bright prospects for autonomy to be achieved while President Duterte will be aggressive in his campaign for federalism because the region and the federal states will have greater control of their resources for the development of their respective places,” Secretary Andanar stressed.
The PCO official welcomed the region’s renewed quest for autonomy For her part, PCO Assistant Secretary Ana Marie rafael-Banaag said the status of the region will still depend on the will of the people whether the Cordillera will strive for autonomy before the onset of federalism, whether the Cordillera becomes an independent federal state or whether the Cordillera will be an autonomous region within a federal state.
Banaag urged autonomy advocate to sustain the aggressive information and education campaign to inculcate into the minds of the people the benefits of becoming an autonomous region wherein the regional government will have greater control of its resources with lesser restraint from outside forces.
Earlier, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza suggested that the Cordillera should strive to achieve autonomous status while the move for federalism will be put in place so that the region will have greater leverage in maintaining its status as an autonomous region within a federal state or an independent federal state depending on its capacity to stand alone.
Concerned local governments and the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera passed separate resolutions expressing their support to the national government’s plan to shift from the current presidential form to federal form of government and requesting President Duterte to certify the autonomy bill to be filed by Cordillera lawmakers as an urgent administration measure to guarantee its passage in both the House of Representatives and Senate during the term of the present administration.
Secretary Andanar said President Duterte will always be a strong advocate for the realization of federalism and autonomy in the regions of the country because he believes devolving the powers of the central government to the federal states or autonomous regions will be the ultimate solution in spurring socio-economic development that will contribute in uplifting the living condition of the people in the countryside. Which has been the clamor of the people wherein there should be equitable development opportunities for both the rural and urban areas in the archipelago.