Duterte told certify autonomy bills urgent

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap is closely working with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) for the possible inclusion of the renewed quest for autonomy of the Cordillera in the final State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte which he will deliver before the Filipino people on Monday, July 26, 2021.

Yap, who chairs the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, stated he will work to sustain the efforts of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera and other lawmakers and concerned stakeholders to convince President Duterte to include in his final SONA his all-out support to the region’s renewed quest for autonomy.

Further, he will also look into the possibility of the President certifying the pending bills in both chambers of Congress seeking for the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) so that the clamor for self-governance will be realized by the Cordillerans before the President will step down from office by the middle of next year.

Congressman Yap’s move is to compliment the earlier efforts of Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang who had a personal meeting with President Duterte last week where the Chief Executive committed to provide the needed push for the issuance of the required certification that the pending autonomy bills in Congress is one of the priority administrations measures that must be passed the soonest for enactment into law.

The lawmaker pointed out that it is important for concerned stakeholders to work together to convince President Duterte to issue the above required certification so that the pending autonomy bills on the establishment of the ARC will move forward in Congress.

Earlier, all Cordillera representatives filed House Bill (HB) 5687 in 2019 while Yap filed HB 7778 both measures seeking the establishment of the ARC where both bills are now pending with the House committee on local government awaiting the appropriate deliberations in the committee and plenary levels.

Moreover, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill (SB) 1232 as the Senate counterpart measure of the pending autonomy bills in the House seeking the establishment of the ARC where the said bill is also pending with the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino.

During its initial meeting, the House committee on local government created a Technical Working Group composed of Cordillera lawmakers and RDC members to synchronize the conflicting provisions of the 2 autonomy bills which will be submitted once Congress will resume its 3rd regular session for the 18th Congress for deliberations and eventual recommendation for plenary debates.

Lawmakers had been filing similar bills in previous Congresses in a bid to realize the constitutional provision for the establishment of the autonomous region but the said bills were not able to hurdle both chambers because of the failure of past administrations to support the same. By HENT

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