Cayetano backs quest for Cordillera autonomy

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BAGUIO CITY– Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured the Cordillera people of his support to the renewed quest for Cordillera autonomy being advanced by lawmakers from the region in the House of Representatives to help in spurring countryside growth and development.

Cayetano, who was with his allies in the city for a number of days to assist members of the vulnerable and marginalized sectors in northern Luzon, pointed out that autonomy for the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao has been enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution thus it is important for the Cordillerans to grab the rare opportunity provided by law to achieve self-rule.

He disclosed that autonomy will allow local governments to have greater control of the resources within the established autonomous region with lesser restraint from outside forces allowing the regional government to implement development projects attuned to the needs of the people in the concerned territory.

Cayetano claimed he and his allies will support the aforesaid legislation being spearheaded by Cordillera lawmakers because it will translate for the desired growth and development within the proposed autonomous region.

Earlier, the House Committee on Local Government created a technical working group (TWG) composed of Cordillera lawmakers and the Regional Development Council (RDC) to synchronize the two pending bills seeking for the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC).

The TWG finalize the contents of the substitute bill to be submitted to the House Committee on Local Government for approval and the eventual submission of the synchronized bill to the plenary for approval of the same in the lower chamber of Congress.

On the other hand, Senate Bill (SB) 1232 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri also seeks to establish the ARC and is now pending before the Senate committee on local government where the same is serving as the counterpart bill in the upper chamber of Congress.

At the start of the 1st regular session of the 18th Congress, Cordillera lawmakers filed House Bill (HB) 5687 which seeks to the establish the ARC pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the 1987 while Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap filed HB 7778 after assuming as the province’s legislative caretaker sometime in 2020.

Cayetano stated that while the two previous autonomy bills were rejected by the people, he expressed hope that Congress will craft an autonomy law that is acceptable to the Cordillerans for the eventual realization of the constitutional provision mandating the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordillera.

He said that his allies in Congress will be united in supporting the Cordillera’s quest for autonomy because it is one way of empowering local governments to work on their own to jumpstart development in the countryside. By HENT

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