BAGUIO CITY – Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go assured autonomy advocates of his support to the region’s renewed quest for autonomy once Cordillera lawmakers will be able to advance the proposed autonomy law in the House of Representatives.
Senator Go, who has been a trusted ally of President Rodrigo Duterte for over two decades now, said that once the proposed autonomy law will start moving in the House coupled with the overwhelming support of Cordillerans, he will support the cause and will join his colleges in the Senate in filing the counterpart bill for its immediate approval.
“We will wait for the Cordillera congressmen to do their part in the House. We will make our own action once we will see that the House will advance in acting on the proposed Cordillera autonomy law,” Senator Go stressed during an interview after the opening of the 50th Malasakit Center at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) recently.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangoang, one of the staunch advocates of Cordillera autonomy in the House, welcomed the statement of support coming from Senator Go saying that it will serve as an inspiration and motivation on the part of the Cordillera congressmen to finalize the proposed amendments to the draft bill so that the same will be signed by all of them and subsequently filed anytime before the middle of this month.
“We’re doing our part to iron out the provisions of the proposed autonomy bill before we will file it so that we will be able to start pushing for it in the House committee where it will be referred by the plenary,” Mangaoang stated.
The two-term Kalinga lawmaker claimed that the Cordillera congressmen are trying to align their actions with the proposed Cordillera stakeholders Summit on autonomy and Federalism which is being spearheaded by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) and the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera that was moved from November 8, 2019 to December 18, 219 so that it will also serve as the first congressional hearing for the said purpose to save on time, effort and resources.
Earlier, the seven Cordillera congressmen greed to introduce amendments to the previous House Bill (HB) 5343 that was unacted in the 17th Congress to incorporate whatever inputs that will improve the contents of the proposed autonomy bill off the Cordillera and file the same in the 18th Congress so that it will be immediately acted upon by the concerned house committee where it will be referred.
Manaoang asserted the need for Cordillerans to take advantage of the enabling environment being provided by the President in achieving autonomy because the establishment of an autonomous region will definitely translate to a far improved region considering that the autonomous regional government will have greater control of the region’s resources with lesser restraint from outside forces which will be instrumental in moving the people out from the shackles of poverty.
The 1987 Constitution provides for the establishment of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao which is now known as the Bangsamoro autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the Cordillera which has yet to be realized after two failed attempts over the past three decades.