Senator Villanueva vows support to Cordillera autonomy

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Senator Joel Villanueva assured Cordillerans of his unwavering support to the region’s renewed quest for autonomy to fulfil the constitutional mandate of establishing autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera.

Villanueva, who was in town for the distribution of the assistance to selected beneficiaries of the government’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program at the Wangal Sports Complex closed gymnasium, disclosed that since he was a party-list congressman, he had always been supportive of the region’s quest for autonomy and that his support has not wavered through the years.

However, he claimed that the people Mindanao are just lucky that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao was immediately established and improved through the Bangsamoro Organic Law that is why it is now the turn of the Cordillerans to grab the rare opportunity given by the Constitution to establish the long-overdue autonomous region.

Senator Villanueva asserted that the Cordillerans deserve the establishment of the autonomous region which had been a product of decades of struggle against the abuses committed against the people and communities, and that there is a need for the present and future generations to continue such identity with the realization of the aspirations of their forefathers to have self-rule in their unique territory.

According to him, he continues to support the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and once the bill seeking for the establishment of the autonomous region will be tackled in the Senate, he will always stand for the Cordillerans and their clamor for self-governance.

He urged Cordillerans to remain updated on the latest developments on the pending autonomy bills and for them to understand the real essence of autonomy so that once the autonomy law will be presented to them in a plebiscite for the ratification of the measure, then can vote for it.

Villanueva vowed to work with fellow lawmakers in the upper chamber to ensure that the autonomy bill will be tackled by the Senate committee on local government so that the 18th Congress can pass an autonomy law acceptable to the Cordillerans.

Autonomy advocates believe that the establishment of the autonomous region will put development efforts in the local hands with greater control of the region’s resources.

At present, autonomy advocates claim there are policies of concerned government agencies not applicable in the region, such as the agriculture department’s focus on rice and corn when the prevailing agriculture crop produced in the highlands is vegetables, among other similar issues and concerns in other government agencies. By HENT

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