TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Some Cordillera lawmakers vowed to continue working out the immediate passage House Bill (HB) 5687 or the bill that seek to establish the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) once Congress resumes its regular session by January 20, 2020.
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoaong said that lobbying for the inclusion of the proposed autonomy bill in the calendar of the House committee on local government will be one of their priorities when Congress resumes its regular sessions so that the same will immediately be subjected to the conduct of public hearings that will facilitate its being included for plenary debates leading to its eventual approval.
Earlier, Cordillera congressmen filed HB 5687 seeking the establishment of the ARC on December 2, 2019 after introducing substantial amendments in the previous proposal to include pertinent provisions that will be beneficial to the autonomous regional government once the same will be in place.
“ The proposed autonomy bill continues to enjoy the support of our counterparts in Mindanao and the Visayas that is why we have to work double time to ensure that our proposal will be included in the bills that will be calendared by the House committee on local government so that it will be passed at the earliest possible time so that we will not be overtaken by whatever supervening events in the future,” Mangaoang stressed.
The Kalinga lawmaker underscored it is high time for Cordillerans to take advantage of the enabling environment provided by President Rodrigo Duterte to work out the establishment of the autonomous region because Cordillerans are not sure on what will happen to the quest for autonomy once the next administration will takeover by June 30, 2922.
For his part, Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog pointed out that much had been said about the region’s renewed quest for self-governance but what is important is that the Duterte administration has given Cordillerans another chance to achieve the coveted autonomous status for the region to be able to improve its current status.
He added that HB 5687 which was authored by all of the Cordillera congressmen encompasses pertinent provisions that will effectively and efficiently address the injustices that had been committed against the Cordillerans in the past but what is important is for autonomy advocates to be able to cascade to the grassroots level the importance of achieving autonomy for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cordillerans.
Dalog claimed that the situation in the Cordillera is peculiar from the other regions that is why framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution saw to it that government will have the legal justification to provide Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera, two of the neglected regions, the sufficient resources that will allow the said areas to cope with the development that was achieved by other regions in the different parts of the archipelago.
Autonomy advocates have time and again reiterated that self-governance will help move people out from the shackles of poverty because the autonomous region will have the authority to maximize the utilization of available resources for the region’s development with lesser restraint from outside forces.
Banner illustration by Don Ray Ramos