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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The House Committee on ways and means recently approved the consolidated bill seeking for the establishment of the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) to allow the said bill to continue advancing in the House of Representatives amidst the ongoing deliberations by Congress on the proposed P5.024 trillion annual budget of the national government next year.
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, stated that the consolidated autonomy bill will have to hurdle the House committee on appropriations chaired by Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap before it will be calendared for plenary debates on the floor by the House committee on rules chaired by House Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
He disclosed that the House committee on appropriations is trying to squeeze in its tight schedule the deliberation on the proposed Cordillera autonomy bill so that it will be able to advance in the House pursuant to the timetable that had been agreed in principle by the Cordillera congressmen who are authors of the said bill so that the same will be passed by the 18th Congress.
Mangaoang claimed that all Cordillera congressmen are working extra hard to have the proposed autonomy bill passed by the concerned committees so that it will be subjected to plenary debates and eventual approval by the House before Congress goes on recess on October 1, 2021 for the filing of the certificates of candidacy by those individuals aspiring for the different elected positions for the May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
Under the agreed timetable, the consolidated autonomy bill must be passed by the House on or before September 30, 2021 so that it will be immediately transmitted to the Senate for the passage of the pending counterpart bill pending in the Senate committee on local government.
According to him, Cordillera congressmen were able to seek the support of fellow lawmakers from the different legislative districts in the country that is why it will be much easier to work for the approval of the consolidated autonomy bill in the house once the same will be calendared for plenary debates in the next several weeks.
Initially, the House Committee on Local Government chaired by Tarlac 3rd District Rep. Noel Villanueva approved the consolidated version of the autonomy bill which was a product of House Bill 5687 authored by all Cordillera congressmen and HB 7778 authored by Congressman Yap.
Mangaoang claimed that the issuance of the necessary certification by President Rodrigo Duterte that the consolidated autonomy bill is a priority administration measure will definitely help in speeding up its approval in both chambers during the 18th Congress so that the Cordillerans will be able to ratify the same in a plebiscite that will be scheduled soonest.
He stipulated that a good number of senators also committed their support to the pending autonomy bill in the upper chamber once the same will be submitted for plenary debates after the House shall approve the consolidated version of the bill on or before the end of the month. By HENT