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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Presidential candidate and Senator Panfilo M. Lacson underscored that the clamor for regional autonomy by the Cordillerans should be overwhelming to be able to convince lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the long overdue law that will establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) similar to what happened in the enhancement of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Lacson stated that what happened in the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the creation of the Negros Island Region was the existence of the overwhelming clamor of the people that will directly benefit from the establishment of the said regions that helped convince lawmakers in both chambers of Congress to pass the separate laws on the said matter.
He urged Cordillerans to be vocal on the establishment of the CAR through various platforms and show to the lawmakers that being autonomous is the call of the times so that the autonomous regional government will be able to craft responsive policies that will be applicable to the prevailing state of the region being a special administrative region that is temporary in nature.
The senator clarified that he is supportive of the region’s renewed quest for autonomy provided that the consultations will show that self-governance is the way to go for the robust development of the region as the same had been already left behind in terms of development compared to other regions in the country.
Senate Bill (SB) 1232 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri which seeks to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) is now pending deliberations with the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino.
The 1987 Constitution mandated the creation and establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao in recognition of the injustices that was done by the national government to the said regions that were evidently left behind in terms of the development of the same.
Autonomy advocates had been reiterating that self-governance will definitely help move the people out from the shackles of poverty because the regional government will be able to craft the region’s own policies, programs and activities that are feasible to the prevailing situation with lesser restraint from outside forces.
At present, what is being implemented in the region are programs, projects, policies and activities that have been crafted by the central government which are not feasible to the peculiar situation of the Cordillera that is why the pace of development in the Cordillera is very slow compared to other regions in the country with vast tracks of land that are suitable to the projects that had been planned and programmed for implementation.
The House version of the autonomy bill has already been passed upon by the House committees on local government chaired by Tarlac 3rd District Rep. Noel Villanueva, ways and means chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and appropriations chaired by Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap and is now pending the inclusion of the same in the plenary debates by the House committee on rules chaired by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez once Congress will go back to session after the Yuletide break by the middle of January next year. By HENT