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BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. underscored less developed provinces like Mountain Province and Ifugao continue to be allies of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in advancing the Cordillera’s quest for autonomy because development must be extended to the countryside to help spur economic growth in identified potential growth areas in the said provinces.
Lacwasan pointed out that the provincial governments of Mountain Province and Ifugao remain committed in advancing the quest for autonomy in their areas of jurisdiction while awaiting the enactment of an autonomy law that will be presented to the Cordillerans for ratification during a plebiscite.
“We will not abandon our quest for autonomy because by becoming an autonomous region, opportunities for growth and development will be greater because of the region’s entitlement to more funding support and the crafting of policies applicable to the prevailing situation in the region aside from preserving our unique culture for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cordillerans,” Gov. Lacwasan stressed.
The governor raised the observation that some Cordillera leaders are still misinformed on the quest for autonomy because they refuse to understand the history of the struggle of those who previously fought against the entry of multinational corporations that might have exploited our region’s rich resources.
Lacwasan and Ifugao Gov. Jerry Dalipog were the only local chief executives who attended the RDC-CAR Advisory Committee meeting held at the Batasan Complex, Quezon City.
According to him, the provincial government remains aggressive in the conduct of information education campaign (IEC) activities inside and outside the province to show the commitment of the provincial, municipal and barangay officials in supporting the third attempt in achieving the establishment of an Autonomous Region in the Cordillera considering the enabling environment presented by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, thus, all efforts are now being done to make autonomy work before the President steps down from power by June 30, 2022.
Autonomy speakers from Mountain Province are one of the most active members of the regional and provincial speakers bureau who are assigned by the RDC-CAR to conduct information and education campaign on the quest for self-governance in the different parts of the Cordillera.
Lacwasan disclosed that he and Gov. Dalipog agreed to reaffirm their commitment to support the quest for autonomy being spearheaded by the RDC-CAR because they do not want that their provinces will be left behind in terms of development considering that with the present set up where the Cordillera remains to be treated as a regular region, less populated localities with lesser land area will never have a chance to be provided with sufficient resources that will speed up countryside development which is present once the region will be converted into an autonomous region in the future.
He expressed confidence that his fellow local officials will re-think their positions on autonomy so that they will have a better leverage when lobbying for the passage of the autonomy bill in Congress.
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos