Solons review Cordillera bills on autonomy

>> Saturday, April 3, 2021

By Marlo Lubguban

BAGUIO CITY – The Lower House committee on local government technical working group recently convened to study bills creating a Cordillera Autonomous Region.
    In a virtual meeting on March 18, congressmen Mark Go of Baguio City and Maximo Dalog, Jr. of Mountain Province convened the House TWG to discuss the matter with officials, resource persons and legal experts from central and Cordillera offices of Departments of Interior and Local Government, Finance and Civil Service Commission.
    Go and Dalog, who co-chair the TWG, said House Bills 5687 and 7778 were studied to come up with a substitute bill as proposed by Go on Nov. 26, 2020 during the House committee on local government’s deliberation on the proposed bills.
    The TWG gathered positions and recommendations of national government agencies to improve proposed bills.
    The National Economic Development Authority Cordillera provided the group with position papers from Cordillera line agencies and local government units.
    These included questions, comments and recommendations gathered during the NEDA-CAR-led information, education and communication  activities since 2017.
    This was the first meeting of the TWG since Rep. Noel Villanueva, who chairs the Lower House CLG, called for its formation to review the proposed bills in relation to laws.
    “We cannot approve this very important piece of legislation in a single sitting”, said Villanueva in a CLG hearing of the proposed bills last Nov. 26. “We must comply with existing laws, otherwise, our efforts may go for naught.”
    More meetings will be done this year as Congress hastens work to make an Organic Act that is acceptable to the people of the Cordillera that will be ratified through a plebiscite.
    Based on the roadmap of the Cordillera Regional Development Council for achieving Cordillera Autonomy in the 18th Congress adapted in February 2019, progress is on track despite some challenges.
    The roadmap achieved its goal of filing a bill on 2019.
    However, due to the global pandemic, the goal of having an Organic Act passed in Congress by 2020 was delayed.
    An Organic Act to make the Cordillera autonomous is targeted to be done before the 2022 national elections.


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