Cordillerans now searching for autonomy champions
BAGUIO CITY December 19 – Cordillerans are now searching for local, regional and national leaders who are willing to sacrifice their time, effort and resources to help or champion the region’s renewed quest for autonomy following the untimely resignation of Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza, a staunch ally of the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) in bringing to the attention of national leaders the clamor of the people for self-governance.
RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR chairman, City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan called on members of the two regional bodies to join forces in searching for national figures who are willing to champion the region’s renewed quest for autonomy to ensure the strengthened lobby for the passage of the pending autonomy bills in both chambers of Congress.
Dureza, who was an adopted son of the Cordillera and was given the local name ‘mensapit’ or peacemaker, vowed to be a champion of the region’s quest for autonomy in the national scene and he was able to initiate the gathering of peace and autonomy pioneers in Mount Data, Bauko, Mountain Province on April 24, 2017, the first-ever meeting of Cordillerans with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on July 18, 2017 and the celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the historic Mount Data ‘sipat’ at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) last September 13, 2018.
“We really need someone who can sustain our aggressive quest for autonomy, especially at the national level, so we can send the right message to our decision-makers that Cordillerans want the immediate establishment of the autonomous region to ensure the better pace of development in our region,” Domogan stressed.
Dureza was also instrumental in facilitating the conduct of the Cordillera Autonomy Forum with senators in coordination with the Office of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, the Cotabato-based Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG) and the RDC-CAR that paved the way for the filing of a number of counterpart bills in the upper chamber seeking the establishment of the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera.
Last August 14, 201, the House Committee on Local Government conducted an initial public hearing on House Bill (HB) 5343 or the Lower House version of the Cordillera autonomy bill authored by all Cordillera lawmakers and to which Mindanao lawmakers committed to give their unrelenting and uncompromising support for its passage.
Since the initial public hearing of the House committee on the proposed autonomy bill, the same was never calendared for further deliberations by the committee because the lawmakers were preoccupied with the deliberations on the proposed 2019 national budget and the proposed extension of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Cordillerans remain optimistic the pending autonomy bills in both chambers will be cleared for deliberations in the committee and plenary levels right at the start of the regular session next year even if the chances of the bills having to be enacted into law remains bleak at this point due to the limited session days as the campaign period for the May 219 mid-term elections will soon start.**By Dexter A. See