BAGUIO CITY – Majority of the Cordillera congressmen expressed their gratitude to the members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) for taking the initiative in drafting the autonomy bill that will guide them in the crafting of the final version of the legislative measure they will file to seek the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC).
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said the submitted draft of the proposed autonomy bill will be an important material for the drafting of the final version of the autonomy bill at it will lessen their work load.
Earlier, the RDC endorsed to the Cordillera Lawmakers a draft of the proposed autonomy law to be one of their reference materials when they craft the final version of the autonomy bill that they will eventually file in the 18th Congress.
“We will not disregard the work of the RDC drafting committee as that is an important reference material for us in crafting the final version of the proposed autonomy law. We should have as many reference materials as possible for us to base our work on the applicable provisions for our region,” Mangaoang stressed.
Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog supported Mangaoang’s position, saying that the RDC draft autonomy bill will definitely lessen the time they will spend for research as the RDC draft is a product of the consolidated effort of autonomy advocates from all over the region that took into consideration the aspects of the region’s renewed quest for autonomy.
While the Cordillera congressmen will still be meeting next month to discuss the finalization of the proposed autonomy bill and the filing of the same, Dalog said they are still open to suggestions and recommendations from those who want additional provisions in the proposed Cordillera autonomy law.
Apayao Rep. Elias C. Bulut, Jr. underscored the importance of a sustained and aggressive information education campaign while the present batch of lawmakers are working on the final version of the proposed autonomy bill they will file within the next several months so that it will not be overtaken by events that could be detrimental in the region’s quest for autonomy.
Bulut said the Cordillera should remain united in clamouring for autonomy because it is the available option that will enhance its development in the future.
Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao said that his support to the region’s quest for autonomy remains while Abra. Rep. Joseph Bernos said that autonomy advocates should coordinate with his office the conduct information and education campaign in his province aside from making sure IEC materials should be made available for both the indigenous peoples and the lowland people in the province.
Chungalao stated that the submitted draft of the proposed autonomy bill will surely serve its purpose once the lawmakers formulate the final version of the bill which they will file within the next several months.
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos