Mountain Province officials push Cordillera autonomy

>> Sunday, July 29, 2018

By Wabilyn M. Lomong-oy

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- House Bill 5343, “An Act establishing the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera, ”gained support from local officials especially from 144 barangays of the province after a public consultation was held here last July 12 at the provincial multi-purpose hall.
The consultation is a continuing endeavor between the House of Representatives through the Committee on Local Government and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) as part of information, education campaign to increase awareness on the proposed bill filed by all congressional Representatives of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Likewise, the conference also aims to gather and solidify support from local to national sectors of society to realize smooth and swift passage of the House measure.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang, who is also Legislative Caretaker of Mountain Province and one the authors of the bill said Cordillera autonomy is the most effective option to provide the region with solid foundation to pursue sustainable development.
The Cordillera, he said, hopes to control its own government and manage its natural resources that will bring the region to national attention.
He also cited benefits of accepting and promoting cultural diversity through the formulation of multi-cultural policies through autonomy.
Lawyer Delmar Carino, member of the technical working group of HB 5343was speaker during the event.
He presented various benefits of autonomy for the Cordillera by highlighting salient features of HB 5343.
These include: enhanced Cordillera identity since regional autonomy will preserve indigenous knowledge systems and allow culture to flourish and responsive policies for the region as autonomy will give Cordillerans the opportunity to decide policies and programs within the common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage.
Another benefit cited was progress for all since Cordillerans will sustainably manage and utilize their resources for the acceleration of the region’s socio-economic development.
Present to express support to the House Bill 5343 were Gov.  Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr.,  lawyer Maximo Dalog Jr.,  Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey, Mountain Province State Polytechnique College president Rexton Chakas,  BontocVice Mayor Eusebio Kabluyen, Besao Vice Mayor June Lapsoten, Sabangan Vice Mayor Dario Esden, SangguniangKabataan representatives, and barangay officials.
In an interview, lawyer Cyphrine Maxcel Dalog, chief of staff of the Office of the Congressman expressed confidence the House bill will gain positive response and support from the Cordillerans this time as the IEC will eventually reach the grassroots with the help of barangay officials and other sectors of society.
“We are also thankful that in the Senate, Senator Miguel Zubiri expressed support by filing Senate Bill 1678 which is a counterpart of HB 5343,” she added. 
Mt. Province barangay officials said they were united in the region’s quest for autonomy as each of the 144 barangays already submitted manifesto of support for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera.
It was also learned during the consultation that the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Abra and Ifugao will be having their scheduled consultation after the province of Benguet and Baguio City conducted their respective consultations on HB 5343.


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