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The Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Baguio have released resolutions expressing their support for Cordillera autonomy towards federalism.
The resolutions cited the continued work towards achieving regional autonomy as they supported the past Cordillera autonomy bills in the 15th, 16th, and 17th Congresses. “The only way to drastically address underdevelopment and poverty in all the provinces of CAR would be through regional autonomy”. Was stated in Provincial Resolution No. 39 S. 2019 of the 9th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Apayao dated September 16.
Recalling the region’s history and struggle, the Kalinga Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 2019-113, dated August 6, 2019, reads, “the movement for regionalization during the early eighties had become a strong clarion call for the many brave men and women to fight for the return of the former six provinces and one highly urbanized city back to one Cordillera region”. Further, in recognizing former President Aquino’s Executive Order 220, establishing the CAR in preparation for autonomy, the Sanggunian signify their “unequivocal support toward regional autonomy”.
The board members and councilors emphasized the need to fast-track development in the region. The Abra Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 85-a S. 2019 dated August 20, 2019, stated, “With the creation of an Autonomous Region of the Cordillera, decades of neglect shall be addressed through inclusive development efforts”. Further, the Mountain Province Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 2019-312 said that “aside from enhancing Cordillera identity, autonomy in the region will boost the economy and development of the Cordillera as the programs, projects, and activities can be customized to fit the situations and conditions of the region”.
The Ifugao Sangguniang Panlalawigan specifically stressed the importance of agriculture in its Resolution No. 2019-195 dated August 13, “the proposed law would enable the region to be a major contributor to the Philippine economy as it will boost its agricultural production”. Ifugao and the rest of the Cordillera have practiced agriculture since time immemorial as exemplified by wonders such as the Banaue Rice Terraces. Previous house bill establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera all consistently have provisions that would promote the agriculture sector and Cordilleran farmers.
The Benguet Sangguniang Panlalawigan declared through Resolution No. 2019-050 dated August 13, 2019, that through self-determination, the region will “become an effective partner in the realization of the national goals of the administration”.
The Baguio City Sangguniang Panlungsod reiterated its previous Resolution No. 196, S. 2016 “Earnestly requesting the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to certify as urgent the creation of the Cordillera Autonomous Region” in its new Resolution No. 227, S. 2019, pushing for the realization of an Autonomous Cordillera in the 18th Congress.
The resolutions will be included in the collection of resolutions, manifestos, and statements of support for Cordillera autonomy during the November 8 Multi-stakeholder Gathering on Autonomy towards Federalism/Charter Change organized by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office and the Cordillera Regional Development Council through NEDA-CAR.
By Marlo T. Lubguban