BAGUIO CITY – The newly established Cordillera League of City and Municipal Mayors passed a resolution supporting the establishment of an autonomous region of the Cordillera and urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to certify House Bill (HB) 5343 as urgent and priority measure of his administration and including the regional autonomy agenda in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) which he will deliver upon the resumption of the regular session of both the House and Senate on July 24, 2017.
The newly established organization of local chief executive is composed of the two city mayors and the 75 municipal mayors distributed from the six provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
In Resolution No. 01-2017, the mayors underscored there is a need to consolidate the efforts of the local officials and the people pushing for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera which outlines the region’s struggle for self-determination and realize the goal of progressive and sustainable regional development.
The group also recognized the fact that federalism can strengthen local government units through the devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources from the central government to the local governments and advocates regional autonomy first while awaiting the establishment of a federal form of government.
Earlier, the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera, the region’s policy-making body, passed a resolution supporting the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera by urging President Duterte to certify the House Bill as urgent and priority administration measure and including the regional autonomy agenda in his upcoming SONA.
According to the group, the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera is aligned with the principles of a federal form of government and that an autonomous region can exist within a federal state provided that the autonomous region was established prior to the conversion of the present form of government to federal form.
At present, the current administration is earnestly pushing for a shift from a unitary to a federal form of government to help speed up the development of various regions in the country that were left out in the existing highly centralized form of government.
It will be recalled that former President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 220 on July 15, 1987 creating the CAR with the mandate to administer the affairs of the government in the region and prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordillera.
The issuance of the said order was anchored on Article X, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution which mandates the creation of the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and of the Cordillera consisting of the provinces, cities, municipalities and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures and other relevant characteristics within the framework of the Constitution, the national sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country.