BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan rallied autonomy advocates from the different parts of the Cordillera to sustain their aggressive information and education campaign, alliance-building and capacity-building in order to cascade to the grassroots level the essence of the renewed pursuit for autonomy beneficial to the present and future generations of Cordillerans.
The local chief executive, who attended the two-day Stakeholders Conference on Autonomy recently, urged the autonomy advocates not to lose track of the gains of their respective information and education campaign, alliance building and capacity building in order to significantly increase the awareness of Cordillerans on the importance of achieving an autonomous status for the region within the term of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte who announced his desire to change the current presidential bicameral form of government to federal.
“We have to sustain the gains of our renewed pursuit for this constitutionally mandated autonomy because it will take more time for the incoming administration to work out the change in the form of government, especially since it will involve amending the 1987 Constitution,” Domogan stressed.
The city mayor said there is nothing wrong in pushing for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera while the present administration will also push for federalism because autonomy compliments federalism.
He explained that autonomous regions can exist within federal states, thus, there will be no changes in the region’s advocacy for autonomy, but will actually provide greater opportunities to inform and educate the people on autonomy and federalism.
According to him, autonomy advocates must also take advantage of the public debates on federalism to inject the region’s clamor for autonomy so that there will be a wider reach among the Cordillera population for them to understand the benefits of the region once it converts into an autonomous region.
He cited the 54 percent level of awareness of Cordillerans on autonomy based on the 2015 tracking survey conducted by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC), to show that autonomy advocates have still a lot of homework to do in further increasing the awareness level of Cordillerans on the said issue and for them to understand its real essence and implications to the development of the region as whole compared to the state of development of other regions in the country.
Autonomy advocates agreed to ramp up conduct their information education campaign, alliance-building and capacity-building, within the different parts of the region while awaiting the marching orders of the incoming administration on how to undergo the campaign for federalism to allow the RDC-CAR to be able to adopt appropriate strategies that will enable the grassroots to understand this the debate on this constitutionally mandated political arangement.
By Dexter A. See