Bright prospects for Cordillera autonomy with new government

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2016

By Dexter A. See 

BAGUIO CITY – The renewed pursuit for Cordillera autonomy which took a back seat during the Aquino administration will gain headway under presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte considering that this is aligned with his advocacy on federalism, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said  last week.
The city mayor said clamor for regional autonomy in the Cordillera is inter-connected with Duterte’s advocacy on federalism that is why autonomy advocates will have an easier time soliciting his support for the realization of the conversion of the Cordillera Administrative Region into an autonomous region.
“President-elect Duterte knows what will be the best option to strike a balanced development in neglected areas of the country like the Cordillera that is why we are optimistic that renewed pursuit for regional autonomy will not encounter rough-sailing in his administration," Domogan said.
Autonomy advocates headed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera are now making arrangements with Duterte to discuss major thrust of the Cordillera before he steps into Malacañang and subsequently delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the 17th Congress with the hope that autonomy for the Cordillera will be one of his high priorities.
The local chief executive cited President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III could have completed the legacy of her mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, who was instrumental in the creation of the CAR as a special administrative region, if he gave priority to the passage of the third attempt for regional autonomy which was initiated by Cordillera lawmakers in the 15th and 16th Congresses.
According to him, it is timely for autonomy advocates to take advantage of the recent pronouncements of Duterte on federalism considering that autonomy is one of the
Integral components of the establishment of federal states considering that there is a possibility that there will be a created autonomous regions within federal states.
Domogan said two major concerns besetting establishment of federal states in the country will be how local governments will be equitably divided onto federal states and how will the central government address the reassignment of national government employees to the different federal states where the agencies will be established plus the need for the federal states to attend to the relocation of the national officials and employees to be displaced.
House Bill 5595 creating an autonomous region in the Cordillera filed in the 15th Congress was passed by the House committee on local governments while its Senate counterpart bill Senate Bill 3115 slept in the Senate committee on local governments.

On the other hand, House Bill 4649 which was refilled in the 16th Congress by all Cordillera lawmakers was again passed upon by the House committee on local governments but it was not acted upon by the House committee on appropriations.


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