Issue of July 27, 2014
Mt. Province

Courier Anniversary Issue
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Baguilat’s take on autonomy

One advantage to this profession is the varying flurry of e-mails that can clog your inbox. Two years ago, I was recipient to an exchange of emails assailing a newly-appointed chair of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. Intrigued and with a sly look on my face, I inserted a message to say I was nominating myself to the position to end the squabble considering that I speak the major languages of the archipelago. But no reply or even an acknowledgement came as my name probably did not ring a bell.

Several times in the past, e-mails purportedly sent from some command in the mountains would appear in the inbox which I promptly deleted so as not to alarm my missus.

One coming from Zorpia tells of women asking for a date while one link reveals successful executives in different professions sharing information and views. One wanted to know if I am a male since I use the e-mail address of the wife.

The e-mails from boxing promoter Brico Santig to his boxing partners in Japan, Thailand, and China were a joy to read considering the telegram-like composition of the messages that cannot pass for complete sentences, not to mention glitches in spelling and in the tenses.

But I understand Brico and his partners understood each other perfectly enough to close and to honor deals at will so there was no cause for alarm.

The tools of the trade never fail to amaze me, considering that I started with only a pen and notebook as a reporter. Pretty soon, I had me a tape recorder but was not dependent on it after I heard a story about Carlos P. Romulo who as a reporter claimed he could remember every word a speaker would say and write the news from memory.

Aside from the typewriter, I was handy with the teletype, then from then on to the computers that today’s generation of reporters use, with two or three fingers crisscrossing the keyboards.

Some e-mails are plain PR stuff, like this one coming from the office of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, which we quote in part:

“With the creation of the Bangsamoro imminent with the expected endorsement of the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat has called on Malacañang to also consider the autonomy aspirations of the Cordillera people.”

Baguilat said like their Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao, the people of the Cordillera also want to exert their right to self-determination, especially since their culture and tradition have remained intact despite colonization and the onset of modern government.

That the people of the Cordillera want autonomy can be evidenced by the filing of a common autonomy bill filed by representatives of the region to be covered by the autonomy law.

“I am asking Malacañang to consider the autonomy aspirations of the Cordillerans and for the House leadership to tackle the House bill that the representatives of the region filed,” said Baguilat, “Now that we have largely resolved issues in Muslim Mindanao and hopefully bring about peace and development there, let us not forget the people of the Cordillera.”

In conclusion, he claimed the region is more than ready for autonomy.

Now that is for this region to decide. Besides, press releases from politicians often carry little weight with editors (who are more concerned with hard news) or even with Malacañang (that is more concerned with news that have impact).

But had he offered the services of a mumbaki to discern who fired the missile that brought down the Malaysian plane over Ukraine, he would have swayed several heads his way, and would have landed in page 1.

To further say the region is ready for autonomy is simply pulling our legs. If we are not even ready to cope with the impact of free trade by next year, what basis is there to back the assertion that one is ready for autonomy?

Umay kayo ketdi apo congressman ta agkape tayo ditoy La Trinidad. Ada met ti strawberry cake, strawberry juice, or strawberry wine. Then maybe, just maybe, we can talk about autonomy.

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