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BAGUIO CITY – Cordillera congressmen, concerned sectors and autonomy advocates are pinning their hopes on the certification that will be issued by President Rodrigo Duterte that the pending autonomy bills in both chambers of Congress is a priority administration measure to ensure the speedy approval of the measures in the 18th Congress.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, pointed out that he was able to personally bring to the attention of President Duterte the urgency of his certification of the pending autonomy bills that is why the consultative meetings being conducted by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) in the different parts of the region on the said matter is a giant step towards achieving the long overdue approval of the autonomy bills in both chambers.
Last month, Congressman Mangaoang had a chance to have a private meeting with the President where he took advantage of the same to ask a favor from the Chief Executive to already issue the needed certification from the Palace that the pending autonomy bills are among the priority administration measures for him to complete his legacy in completing the peace cycle not only in the south but also in the northern part of the country.
For her part, PLLO Acting Secretary Luzverfeda Pascual commended the hardwork and passion of the Cordillera congressmen in trying to advance the autonomy bills in the House of Representatives as the substitute bill is set to be submitted by the technical working group (TWG) to the House Committee on Local Government for approval before the same will be referred to the House Committee on Appropriations chaired by Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap and the House Committee on ways and means chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.
Ifugao Gov. Jerry Dalipog claimed that the people of his province are simply awaiting the approval of the autonomy law so that they will participate in the ratification of the measure for the establishment of the autonomous region while Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. stipulated that the quest for autonomy is long overdue that is why Congress should speed up the approval of the pending measures which are already acceptable to the Cordillerans so that the put up of the autonomous regional government will be realized.
The Kalinga lawmaker explained that once the President will issue the required certification that the pending autonomy bills in Congress are part of the administration’s priority concerns, the bills can be approved on second and third readings in just one day compared to the present practice that if a bill is approved on second reading, it will have to be calendared for third reading after 3 days.
He asserted that the quest for autonomy is no longer a long overdue dream but it is already a verdant desire among Cordillerans who had been clamoring for self-determination for many decades now.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri assured Cordillerans of his support to the region’s quest for self-governance while House Majority Floor Leader Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez committed the passage of the pending autonomy measures which is in line with the administration’s objective of devolving more powers to the local governments.