Autonomy advocacy expands reach with diverse events

>> Monday, December 24, 2018

Year-end Report

By Marlo T. Lubguban 

The National Economic and Development Authority Cordillera (NEDA-CAR) continued to raise awareness on Cordillera autonomy in 2018 through its Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program as national interest for the advocacy grows.
Some 45 information, education, and communication (IEC) events were held this year reaching over 17,000 at the regional and grassroots levels.
The SPCAR program has three thrusts: IEC, alliance building and capability building thrust.
The program raises regional awareness and support for autonomy through IEC thrust while simultaneously advancing the Cordillera Organic Act at the national level through alliance building engagements and through capability projects.
The autonomy advocacy diversified its methods of raising awareness and gaining the support of Cordillera autonomy. Beyond the traditional lecture-forum, several unique events were held such as the Sports for Autonomy Marathon Relay throughout the entire Mountain Province from March 22 to 27, the continuing Autonomy concert-forums held in Sagada, Mountain Province, Bangued, Abra, and Luna, Apayao,  editorial writing on autonomy in this year’s Regional Higher Education Press conference on Nov. 29 and 30 and a quiz bee conducted in the Sto. Tomas National high school in Baguio on Nov. 29.
Guided by the results of the 2017 Pulse Survey on Cordillera autonomy awareness and the 2018-2019 roadmap to Cordillera autonomy towards federalism, the SPCAR program intensified its information dissemination among grassroots and youth sectors.
The advocacy also gained strong support among civil society organizations and local government units.
Trainings for municipal and barangay-level IEC speakers were also conducted for Abra, Baguio City, Benguet, and Mountain Province LGUs to help reach more stakeholders at the grassroots level. NEDA-SPCAR also coordinated with various regional line agencies such as the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Labor and Employment, Budget and Management, Science and Technology, Interior and Local Government, Philippine Information Agency and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.  
This, to raise awareness of Cordillera autonomy among stakeholders and employees in various events throughout the year. 
Partners in the private sector also helped raise awareness and gain the support of Cordillera autonomy.
These included the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), the Cordillera Network of Development non-government organizations and peoples’ organizations (CORDNET), the Mountain Province Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) led by the Lang-ay Festival Organization, the Sadanga Environmental and Cultural Care Association, Inc. (SECCAI), the Cordillera Bodong Association (CBA), the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army (CPLA), the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development (CFPD), and many others.
Further, in an effort to inculcate a shared regional identity, NEDA-SPCAR and Mountain Province State Polytechnic College finalized the Historical Mapping and Marking of Cordillera Self-Determination sites with over 30 identified sites throughout the region. These historical sites relate to autonomy and the struggle for self-determination.
Even more stakeholders were reached through various broadcast, radio, print, and social media in partnership with Northern Philippine times, SunStar Baguio, Bombo Radyo Baguio, SkyCable Baguio, and PTV Cordillera.
NEDA-SPCAR continues to raise awareness and gain support for autonomy as a means of addressing the shortcomings of the two failed attempts in 1990 and 1998 due to the lack of proper information dissemination.
Autonomy is the overarching theme of regional development for the Cordillera.
It is viewed by Cordillera leaders as the best way to spur long-overdue regional development that is sustainable and self-determined by its people. -- SPCAR


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