BAGUIO CITY – The House of Representatives Committee on Local Government has calendared for public hearing House Bill (HB) 5343, or the bill that seeks to establish an Autonomous Region in the Cordilllera (ARC), on January 17, 2018 while awaiting the certification from President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the proposed bill is one of the priority administration measures.
Kalinga Rep. and Mountain Province caretaker congressman Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang explained the re-scheduling of the earlier scheduled public hearing last December 6, 2017 to January 17, 2018 is to guarantee the participation of a greater number of lawmakers for them to understand the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and for the issues and concerns to be clarified by the Cordillera congressmen and concerned autonomy advocates.
“The resetting of the public hearing on the proposed Cordillera autonomy should not be a cause for alarm among our people because the members of the House are pre-occupied with various issues that are also a priority of the administration. We will work on what will be the developments in the scheduled public hearing considering that the Bangsamoro Basic Law has not yet been ironed out while the proposed charter change has yet to be put in place,” Mangaoang stressed.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza, who is championing the region’s third and last crack at establishing an autonomous region, assured his presence during the scheduled public hearing in the House next year to reaffirm his commitment that the Palace will be coming out with the certification that the proposed autonomy bill as one of the priority administration measures simultaneous with that of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Mangaoang underscored what is important is for the autonomy advocates to sustain the aggressive gains of the information and education campaign on self-governance to the grassroots level so Cordillerans will be able to understand the real essence of autonomy once the approved law will be brought to them for ratification during a plebiscite that will be scheduled for the purpose.
According to him, officials and members of other House committees where the proposed autonomy bill was referred are also expected to attend the scheduled public hearing to make it easier for members of the Regional Development Council (RDC), the Cordillera congressmen, and autonomy advocates to effectively and efficiently address their questions and clarify their doubts for the bill to be endorsed for plenary debates and eventual approval within next year.
Earlier, the RDC-CAR embraced the direction of autonomy towards federalism because achieving the establishment of an autonomous region will allow the region’s unified existence within a federal state that will be established once the change from the presidential form of government to federal will be approved in the future.
The region’s policy-among body asserted that autonomy which guarantees the region’s greater control of its resources with lesser restraint from outside forces will ensure the desired development in the countryside in the future beneficial to the younger generations of Cordilleans.