Fate of Cordillera in House version of charter change doubted

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BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan warned the fate of the Cordillera will be uncertain once the House version of the charter change will advanced instead of the draft federal Constitution transmitted to Congress by no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte for possible consideration.

The city chief executive pointed out that the scrapping of the Cordillera and the Bangsamoro regions in the proposed Resolution  No. 15 of both Houses which was even supported by some Cordillera lawmakers will definitely be detrimental to the status of the regions that are allowed autonomy under the 1987 Constitution because it could result to the eventual breakup of the said regions.

“We should treat the proposed scrapping of the Cordillera and Bangsamoro regions under the House version of the charter change as an urgent call for us to aggressively work for the realization of our long overdue clamor for self-governance before it will be overtaken by events, especially when Congress starts acting on the resolution that will dissolve the regions that were supposed to have achieved autonomy,” Domogan stressed.

He explained it is unfortunate that some Cordillera lawmakers who were supposed to ensure that provisions on the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao will be maintained in the proposed amendment of the Constitution voted in favour of the resolution of both houses which casts doubts on their sincerity to advance the passage of the pending autonomy bills in both chambers of Congress.

According to him, we may as well forget lobbying for the passage of House Bill (HB) 5343 authored by all Cordillera congressmen seeking the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordillera in the 17th Congress and instead for autonomy advocates to focus their attention on the 18th Congress when it opens in July for the passage of the proposed autonomy law that will create the desired autonomous region.

He underscored the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera will continue to make the needed representations to ranking officials of the present administration to help the region’s policy-making body in advancing the proposed autonomy law in the upcoming 18th Congress for the realization of the establishment of the autonomous region before the end of the term of President Duterte.

Domogan claimed Cordillerans should be grateful to President Duterte and former Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza for opening the opportunity for the Cordillera to have a third crack at achieving the establishment of the autonomous region as it is only through self-governance that the region can advance in terms of faster growth and development with the regional government having greater control over the region’s resources.

Under the draft federal charter submitted by the Constitutional Committee (ConCom) created by the President to review possible amendments to the 1987 Constitution, there will be 16 federated regions apart from the federated regions of the Cordillera and Bangsamoro to be created that will guarantee the unity and stability of the said regions under a federal form of government.

By Dexter A. See
Banner illustration by Don Ray Ramos

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