BAGUIO CITY – The chairman of the Senate committee on local government expressed his support to the passage of pending measures in Congress for the establishment of an Autonomous Region in the Cordillera pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Constitution mandating the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera.
Senator Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, stated he will be engaging Cordillera lawmakers in the coming weeks to discuss the pending bills in the House and the Senate for the establishment of the ARC as he is also working on the proposed extension of the transition period for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
He added he will defer matters on the region’s quest for autonomy to the Cordillera lawmakers who are fully aware of the situation on the ground and the clamor of the people so that the constitutional provision for the put up of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera will be fulfilled.
On July 15, 2021, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will be celebrating its 34th founding anniversary as a special temporary administrative region while waiting for the ongoing quest for the establishment of the ARC.
House Bills 5687 and 7778 authored by all Cordillera congressmen and Senate Bill 1232 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri all seek to establish the ARC pursuant to the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Senator Tolentino assured he will be scheduling the meeting with Cordillera lawmakers even after the CAR shall have celebrated its founding anniversary so that they will be able to formulate the appropriate strategies to ensure the immediate passage of the pending bills in both chambers.
CAR was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 220 issued by former President Corazon C. Aquino on July 15, 1987 when she was still exercising both executive and legislative powers under the former revolutionary government that was established after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Under the aforesaid executive issuance, the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City were taken from Region I to be combined with the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region II to compose the CAR.
Further, the CAR was supposed to administer the affairs of the government in the region, accelerate the socio-economic development of the region and prepare the region for autonomy.
Autonomy advocates believe that the establishment of the ARC will propel growth and development in the Cordillera because the regional government will be able to craft programs, policies and projects that are suitable to the prevailing situation and help move people out from the shackles of poverty with lesser restraint from outside forces.
The Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera is spearheading the ongoing quest for regional autonomy through various information and education campaign, capacity building and program monitoring and evaluation interventions to help achieve the long overdue autonomy status for the CAR as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution. By HENT