TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Cordillera lawmakers are scheduled to meet key members of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) next week to discuss the fiscal viability of the proposed establishment of the autonomous region to help in advancing House (Bill (HB) 3267 in the lower House.
Abra Rep. Menchi Bernos, Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao, Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang and Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog, Jr. will discuss the proposed financial requirements of the autonomous region that is contained in the bill to assure the DBCC members that the requested government support to the region is not that enormous compared to what had been granted by the government to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The Cordillera lawmakers are aggressively pushing for the approval of the proposed autonomy bill in the House so that it will be acted upon by the Senate the soonest in preparation for the possible conduct of the plebiscite for the ratification of the autonomy law by next year.
Congressman Mangaoang, together with Congressman Go and Congressman Dalog, were able to initially discuss pertinent issues and concerns of the DBCC with some key Cabinet officials and House officers for the possible green light on the financial requirements of the autonomous region as enshrined in the bill so that the House committee on appropriations will be able to endorse the bill for plenary debates in the House before their schedules will be pre-occupied by the upcoming budget deliberations on the annual budget of the government next year.
The Kalinga lawmaker disclosed that one of the fears of the DBCC is the enormous financial requirement of the autonomous region which might affect the proposed annual budget as approximately 2.5 percent of the appropriations has already been committed annually to the BARMM.
However, Mangaoang pointed out that the cordillera will not go to the extent of demanding what is impossible to be approved as the government’s financial support to the autonomous region once approved and that it will make do with what will be reasonable on the part of the DBCC because they do not want further delays in the approval of the pending autonomy bill in the lower House.
Earlier, the House committees on local government and ways and means already approved the proposed autonomy bill which is now pending with the House committee on appropriations for the approval of the financial requirements of the region before it will be transmitted to the House committee on rules for the scheduling of the plenary debates and period of amendments.
Mangaoang stipulated that the results of their upcoming meeting with key DBCC members and House officers will guide the Cordillera lawmakers on what future actions to undertake to allow the proposed autonomy bill to be approved by the House committee on appropriations and submitted for plenary debates, period of amendments and eventual approval by the House possibly before the end of the year.