Survey shows spike in autonomy awareness


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BAGUIO CITY – More Cordillerans are now aware of the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and that they are likely to vote in favor of the ratification of an autonomy law during the conduct of a plebiscite.

Based on the 2019 pulse survey conducted by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera, 34 percent of the respondents will vote for the autonomy law, 21 percent will reject the same and 45 percent are still undecided.

Earlier, results of the 2017 pulse survey showed that only 27 percent of the respondents will favor autonomy, 10 percent will not favor the autonomy law while a whopping 63 percent were undecided.

Milagros A. Rimando, RDC-CAR vice chairperson and regional director of the Cordillera office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), said that the 7 percent increase in the respondents is a significant gain in the efforts of the region’s policy-making body to improve the awareness of Cordillerans on the region’s quest for self-governance and its overall impact to the growth and development of the cordillera.

The 2019 random survey had a total of 5,437 respondents from Abra, Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province compared to the 5,558 respondents in the 2017 pulse survey.

Rimando disclosed that the annual conduct of the pulse survey is one of the strategies that had been crafted by the RDC-CAR way back in 2007 to gauge the awareness of Cordillerans on the quest for autonomy and the effect of the ongoing information and education campaign to ensure the improved awareness of the people to the proposed establishment of the autonomous region.

According to her, one of the purposes of the ongoing information education campaign by the RDC-CAR is to convince the undecided voters in the different parts of the region to favor the establishment of the autonomous region during the conduct of the required plebiscite for the ratification of the autonomy law that will be passed by Congress.

Pending before the House of Representatives is House Bill (HB) 5687 authored by all Cordillera congressman proposing for the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) which has been referred to the House committee on local government while its counterpart bill in the Senate authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Bill (SB) 1232 has already been filed in the upper chamber.

The NEDA-CAR official claimed that based on the follow-up done by the cordillera congressmen from the committee, the support of concerned stakeholders is being required prior to the scheduled conduct of consultations in the different parts of the region for the eventual passage of the autonomy bill in the lower chamber as such endorsements will have a significant effect in convincing other lawmakers in voting in favor of the said measure.

In 2006, the RDC-CAR decided to make autonomy as its overarching development agenda as the realization of the constitutional provision mandating the establishment of autonomous regions in Mindanao and the Cordillera will help in speeding up development in the countryside and move people out from the shackles of poverty.

By Hent
Banner illustration by Don Ray Ramos

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