BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan lauded the support committed by officials of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) to the renewed quest for autonomy by the Cordillera after a local gathering involving the concerned government agencies and local governments on how to advance the pending autonomy bills in both chambers of Congress.
The local chief executive said that the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera is elated over the gains in the quest for autonomy in the national level, particularly in the legislative and executive branches, with a sustained effort at getting a certification from President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the pending autonomy bills are urgent priority administration measures that must be enacted into law as part of the advocacy efforts.
“We gained the support of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office in advancing our quest for autonomy in both chambers of Congress because now is the time for us to achieve autonomy, especially with the enabling environment as shown by the support from no less than President Rodrigo Duterte to the clamor of local officials for the decentralization of powers and resources,” Domogan stressed.
House Bill (HB) 5343 is authored by all Cordillera congressmen while Senate Bill (SB) 1678 is authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and both bills are geared towards the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera.
Domogan revealed that PLLO officials also committed to help in working out with the Office of the President the necessary certification at the stage when the pending autonomy bills will require the same to fastrack its approval in both chambers of Congress which will be subjected to the traditional bicameral conference committee refinement prior to submission to President Duterte for his signature.
According to him, the snowballing support that the region’s renewed quest for autonomy is receiving from the national government is a manifestation of the Duterte administration’s commitment to grant autonomy to the Cordillera pursuant to the mandate of the 1987 Constitution.
Domogan explained it is important for the Cordillera to grab the opportunity of becoming an autonomous region during the term of the President because the chances of achieving autonomy after the President’s term might be bleak, especially when those who will be elected into power will not value the importance of decentralization of powers.
Domogan disclosed that Cordillera congressmen are also following up the eventual placing into the calendar of the House Committee on Local Government HB 5343 for committee approval prior to the issuance of the required certification from the President so that it will be immediately acted upon in plenary.
Earlier, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza asserted the President will only certify the autonomy bill as urgent once all the necessary consultations relative to the final version of the bill shall have been completed so that whatever will be the output of the committee will be the one that will be certified as urgent for immediate action by both chambers of Congress.
By Dexter A. See