BAGUIO CITY – The Province of Apayao will follow the provinces of Kalinga and Ifugao who all have committed municipal and barangay officials to be speakers and advocates for Cordillera autonomy. Municipal and barangay speakers of Apayao will convene in Luna, Apayao on March 7, 2019.
NEDA-CAR will orient the officials about the Regional Development Council’s roadmap for Cordillera autonomy and the salient features of the draft Cordillera Organic Act, and the core messages of the renewed pursuit of regional autonomy. Officials from the municipalities of Luna, Pudtol, Flora, Kabugao, and Conner are expected to propose plans for the conduct of IECs as they are identified priority municipalities in the SPCAR 2019-2021 Communication Plan.
Earlier, officials from Kalinga and Ifugao attended their respective autonomy Information, Education and Communication (IEC) speakers’ training. Officials from both provinces committed to raise awareness on Cordillera autonomy and its benefits to Cordillerans. The trained speakers from these provinces will conduct their own IECs in their respective municipalities. In Kalinga, the priority areas are the component city of Tabuk, and the municipalities of Rizal, Balbalan, Pinukpuk, and Tinglayan. Ifugao priority municipalities are Banaue, Lamut, Alfonso Lista, and Kiangan. The priority areas are determined by population and the municipalities’ awareness of Cordillera autonomy according to the 2017 pulse survey on autonomy awareness.
NEDA-CAR continues to raise awareness of and gain support for Cordillera autonomy with the grassroots as priority. IECs were recently conducted for the month of February in the barangays of Bauko, Mountain Province and Kibungan, Benguet where over 400 stakeholders were reached.
NEDA-CAR coordinated with the Province of Apayao for the implementation of this event. The Province of Apayao was the second province to vote in favor of Autonomy and the only one to vote “yes” during the 1998 plebiscite. It is the northern-most province of the Cordillera and is considered the last frontier of the Philippines for vast untouched forests.
By Marlo T. Lubguban
Banner illustration by Don Ray Ramos