BAGUIO CITY – Last November 7, the OPAPP and NCIP-CAR in coordination with NEDA-CAR, and the UNDP held a provincial legislative assembly among Baguio and Benguet indigenous peoples (IPs) in Baguio City. This is part of a region-wide consultation among Cordillera IPs to provide inputs and suggestions in the proposed Cordillera organic act which is being deliberated in the local government committees of both Houses of Congress.
After a series of provincial consultations, a regional assembly will be held in Baguio in December. Inputs from all provincial consultations will be presented during the regional assembly. It will be recalled the same process was undertaken before the BOL was passed in which the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Indigenous-Peoples Peace Panel (OPAPP-IPPP) gathered inputs from the Bangsamoro IPs.
OPAPP-IPPP is based in Davao and led by former NCIP chair Atty. Reuben Dasay Lingating. They helped the IPs in the proposed Bangsamoro geographic entity to input several amendments to the BOL before it was made into law last July. Now, their team has turned their focus to the IPs in the Cordillera. IPPP is working with the Regional Development Council (RDC), through its members, NEDA-CAR and NCIP-CAR to ensure the involvement of IPs in the legislative process.
OPAPP, under the leadership of Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza, continued to advocate for Cordillera autonomy alongside the Bangsamoro. Dureza helped gain national support for the advocacy through various events and meetings. Particularly, he requested Senator Migs Zubiri to file the Senate counterpart of the bill “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera”.
By Marlo T. Lubguban