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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) by the House Committee on Local Government to iron out various issues besetting the pending autonomy bills is part of the procedures before these bills will be formally acted upon by the committee and submitted for plenary debates because of the absence of the required certification from the Office of the President stating the proposed law is one of the priority administration measures.
However, Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang reported that the autonomy bills will start moving in the House Committee on local government by January after the Yuletide break to achieve the timetable prescribed for the bills to be passed by the 18th Congress.
He pointed out that the decision of the House Committee on Local Government to create the TWG to address the issues raised by some lawmakers on the need for the creation of the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission (CRCC) to draft the proposed law should not be a cause for concern among autonomy advocates, but instead, it should serve as a motivation for sustained lobbying with concerned lawmakers to ensure the immediate passage of the bills.
Mangaoang claimed Cordillera lawmakers had been getting enormous support from their counterparts in the different legislative districts around the country for a favourable vote on the proposed law once it is submitted by the House Committee for plenary debates and appropriate action, in the meantime that efforts are still being exerted to secure the needed certification from President Rodrigo Duterte that the pending autonomy bills is part of the priority administration measures that must be acted upon.
The Kalinga lawmaker asserted that while there are various points of view of some Congress representatives on the issues raised at the committee level, it should be a reason to delay action on the important legislation for the Cordillera because it is the future of the region that is at stake and must be given urgent attention during the present administration as it might not be the priority of the succeeding president.
According to him, President Duterte provided the enabling environment for the establishment of the long-overdue autonomous region for the Cordillera which the Regional Development Council (RDC) took advantage with the crafting of House Bill (HB) 5687, followed by the filing of HB 7778 authored by Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, one of the close allies of the President, thus, the need for autonomy advocates to drumbeat the importance of securing a certification from the Office of the President for the inclusion of the autonomy bills as one of the priority administration measures.
He assured Cordillerans he will continue to discuss with his fellow Cordillera lawmakers on how to convince the members of the House committee on local government to approve the same at the committee level and submit the same for plenary debates and eventual approval by the House.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill (SB) 1232 that seeks to establish the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) which is the counterpart bill of HBs 5687 and 7778.