Maguindanao lawmaker backs Cordillera autonomy bid

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BAGUIO CITY  – The renewed quest for regional autonomy of the Cordillera continues to get the needed support from Mindanao lawmakers even if the chances of passing the proposed autonomy bill, House Bill (HB) 5343, which is still pending in the House Committee on local government in the 17th Congress has become bleak with a few remaining session days before members of both chambers goes on break for the upcoming campaign period.

Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Zajid G. Mangudadatu said Mindanao lawmakers agreed to vote in favour of the passage of HB 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish an Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) once it will be calendared for plenary debates as they join the Cordillerans in having similar sentiments with their counterparts in Mindanao for the realization of the constitutional provision mandating the put up of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.

HB 5343 authored by all Cordillera congressmen has been pending in the House Committee on local government wherein it is awaiting its being recommended for plenary debates and approval on second and third readings.

“We join our brothers and sisters in the Cordillera in their clamor for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordillera which has been long overdue. We hope that the success of the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will serve as a template for what will be the best for the Cordillera,” Mangudadatu stressed.

The Maguindanao lawmaker said that he is in constant communication with some Cordillera lawmakers on the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and they are looking at how the BARMM will succeed so that whatever good provisions of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will be incorporated in the pending autonomy bill of the Cordillera so that it will surely work well for the robust development of the region once the same will be enacted into law in the coming 18th Congress.

According to him, the implementation of Republic Act 11054 or the BOL and the eventual realization of the establishment of the ARC will definitely serve as templates for the administration’s plan to shift to federal form of government because the grant of autonomous status for the two less developed regions will showcase the advantages of decentralization of some of the powers of the national government and the devolution of its resources so that it will be the autonomous regions that will decide the type of development that will be undertaken in the said regions.

Mangudadatu argued the primary reason for poverty and unequal development among the country’s regions is the highly centralized set up that is why there is congestion and monstrous traffic in urban centers like Metro Manila, thus, the need for the shift to federal form of government to help in giving a chance for less developed regions to achieve their desired state of growth without compromising the desire of the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao to achieve autonomous status as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

He explained that it will be better for the Cordillera to await the initial implementation of the BOL so that lawmakers will be able to use the lessons learned for the enhancement of the pending Cordillera autonomy bill that will address the clamor of Cordillerans for self-governance. By HENT

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