People engagement key to Cordi autonomy – Dar

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BAGUIO CITY– Agriculture Secretary William Dar underscored that people engagement and involvement will be instrumental in the realization of the quest for autonomy.

Dar, who is also the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) of the Cordillera, stated that there is a need for autonomy advocates to further enhance people engagement and involvement in the region’s quest for autonomy to send a clear message to the national government that it is what matters to help in improving the current state of the Cordillera in terms of development.

In his post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) virtual press conference, he pointed out that there is no question about the support of the concerned government agencies and local governments on the proposed establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) but what must be done at this point is to enhance the participation of the people on the clamor fur self-governance.

Secretary Dar stipulated that the Cordillera needs autonomy to be able to chart its development thrust so that it will not be tied up by the limitations of the programs and policies of the national government considering the region’s peculiar situation.

He pointed out that autonomy advocates should work on strategies that will significantly increase people participation to the various activities that had been lined up to aggressively drumbeat the quest for autonomy so that lawmakers will be compelled to pass the long overdue autonomy bill that will establish the ARC for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cordillerans.

Earlier, Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang was able to get the commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte to support the region’s quest for autonomy during a recent meeting in Manila and that he was able to request the Chief Executive to issue a certification that the pending bills in both chambers of Congress seeking for the establishment of the ARC treated as priority administration measures to ensure their passage in the 18th Congress.

While the quest for autonomy was not included by President Duterte in his last SONA, Mangaoang pointed out that the same should serve as a motivation and inspiration for Cordillerans to bring the campaign for autonomy to a higher level with the greater participation of people on the ground to be able to get the attention of national leaders that it is high time for the putting in place of the autonomous region.

Pending in the house of Representatives are House Bills (HBs) 5687 authored by all Cordillera congressmen and 7778 authored by Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap seeking for the establishment of the ARC while filed in the Senate is Senate Bill (SB) 1232 authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri which is serving as the counterpart bill for the autonomy bills in the lower chamber.

The said bills are now pending in both the House and Senate committees on local government awaiting further deliberations that will be initiated by lawmakers before the same will be submitted to the plenary fur further debates and eventual approval. By Dexter A. See

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