TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Rep Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said that the passage of the long-overdue autonomy bill will be one of his major priority legislative measures in the 18th Congress once he is given a fresh mandate by the people of the province during the May 13, 2019 mid-term elections.
Mangaoang, who is also the caretaker congressman of Mountain Province, said that the passage of the proposed autonomy bill, House Bill (HB) 5343, in the 17th Congress was overtaken by numerous events over the past several months that parked the bill in the house committee on local government for quite sometime until Congress went on recess for the election period.
“We will sponsor the proposed autonomy bill in the 18th Congress once the Regional Development Council submits the final draft prior to the start of our regular sessions. We have to admit that we no longer have the luxury of time to pass the bill during the remaining session days of this 17th Congress,” Mangaoang stressed.
The Kalinga lawmaker expressed optimism that the next lawmakers elected by the Cordillerans from other legislative districts in the region will be champions of autonomy so that all Cordillera congressmen in the 18th Congress will be whole-heartedly in favour of the region’s renewed quest for autonomy.
According to him, the Cordillera will be in a better situation in an autonomous region rather than in the present set up because the autonomous regional government will be empowered to craft policies, programs, projects and activities suitable to the conditions in the region unlike in the current set up where all issuances come from the central government even if these are not applicable in all regions.
Mangaoang claimed the present batch of Mindanao lawmakers are supportive in the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and Cordillera lawmakers will have to maintain their alliance with their counterparts from the Mindanao and the Visayas to make it easier for the passage of the proposed autonomy bill once filed and subjected to committee and plenary deliberations.
He commended the region’s policy-making body for sustaining and enhancing the alliance and partnership it established with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLOO) to ensure that the region’s renewed quest will remain within the radar of President Rodrigo R. Duterte and make it easier for lawmakers to access the needed certification as an urgent administration measure once they will file the bill in the 18th Congress.
Former Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza was instrumental in opening the link between the national government and the RDC-CAR that paved the way for the conduct of numerous autonomy-related activities inside and outside the region over the past two years allowing the Cordillera to advance the quest for autonomy to the national level and gain the support of national officials. By HENT