CAR gains another autonomy champion

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BAGUIO CITY  – CAR officials gained another autonomy champion in the person of Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza in a meeting convened by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) in Manila last November 28, 2016.

The small-group meeting aimed to seek the support of the Secretary for the region’s aspiration for autonomous governance. This was attended by OPAPP officials and some CAR Congress representatives, governors, mayors and officers of line agencies.

In his opening statement, the Secretary readily said that the proposed Cordillera organic act could be simultaneously filed together with the Bangsamoro, the latter planned to be filed in July 2017.

RDC Vice-chair and NEDA Dir. Milagros Rimando said that a new draft House Bill is currently being finalized by the RDC Technical Working Group which incorporated suggestions from CAR Congress representatives, inputs from various consultations, and analysis from the review of the 1988 Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission proposed charter, Bangsamoro Basic Law, among others.

The CAR officials also presented the Council’s and six Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolutions expressing support to the national government’s move toward federalism and seeking support to Cordillera autonomy.

Although critical issues were surfaced, there was an affirmation to continuously engage in the autonomy advocacy alongside plans for a federal government set-up and the Bangsamoro autonomy.

To this, the Secretary advised that CAR should go for autonomy and end up with federalism. He advised that all officials should come up with a collective decision. “I will personally champion it,” he committed.

CAR officials seized the opportunity to present other regional concerns such as the PAMANA program and the BIBAK lot issue.

Another meeting of CAR officials is set soon to identify the region’s options, strategies, and actions in the autonomy advocacy.

By Emelie G. Daquipil

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