BAGUIO CITY – House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill authored by all Cordillera congressmen seeking the establishment of an Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) is now advancing in the House committee on local government as earlier agreed upon by members of the committee during a previous public hearing called for the purpose of initially deliberating on the contents of the proposed measure.
Kalinga Rep. and Mountain Province caretaker congress representative Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang claimed the technical working group (TWG) composed of all Cordillera lawmakers convened last Monday and worked on the refinement of the proposed autonomy bill taking into consideration proposals from the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR), aside from other applicable provisions from the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the draft federal charter, before the matter will be brought back to the committee proper for approval as earlier agreed upon by the members.
By next week, Mangaoang disclosed that the TWG members will be meeting with the committee secretariat to iron out the provisions of the proposed autonomy law before scheduling a meeting with ranking officials of the finance and budget departments relative to the fiscal provisions so that if there will be no objections from the said departments, the final draft of the bill will be submitted to the committee proper for eventual approval probably before the end of September or before Congress goes on recess by October 12, 2018.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to further advance our proposed autonomy bill in the House so that we will be able to put things in their proper perspectives before the election period to avoid the aspiration of our people from being again overtaken by events,” Mangaoang stressed.
He added that the scheduled meeting of the Cordillera congressmen with officials of the finance and budget departments is simply to get the commitment of the administration’s economic managers on the financial obligations of the national government to the autonomous regional government enshrined in the proposed autonomy law so that the fiscal issues will not be politicized even with the change of leadership in the ARC.
Mangaoang said that Cordillera congressmen will do their best efforts to have the autonomy bill hurdle the committee level so that the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) will have the time to start working on the needed certification from President Rodrigo R. Duterte for the immediate passage of the bill to save on quality time which will be used for other productive efforts in informing and educating the Cordillerans on the salient provisions of the proposed autonomy law and the real essence of self-governance to the state of development in the region.
HB 5343 authored by Abra Rep. Joseph Sto. Nono Bernos, Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. and Rep. Mangaoang was filed in the House of Representatives early last year but it was only acted upon by the committee on local government earlier this month.