January 31, 2023

Benguet legislative caretaker Rep. Eric Yap reported last week he discussed with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea the House bill seeking for the establishment of the Autonomous Cordillera Region.

Yap, in a statement, said the long-time quest for an autonomous region in the highlands was one of the topics he discussed with Medialdea, including the 2021 national budget and the legislative agenda of the Office of the President.

“Aside from the national concerns, we also talked about the legislative agenda that will benefit Benguet and the whole of the Cordillera. I mentioned our advocacy to create the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera through House Bill 7778, which we filed in Congress on Sept. 27,” Yap said.

The proposed law is the third House bill file in the 18th Congress alongside HB 5687 filed by all Cordillera legislators including the late Benguet Rep. Nestor Fongwan Sr., as well as Senate Bill 1232 filed by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera said filing of multiple bills with the same content is not uncommon in the country’s legislation and is usually a sign of increasing support towards the intended goals.

“In this case, the filing of another bill establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera shows the support that Congressman Yap has committed to his adopted province and region,” NEDA-CAR said in a statement.

Yap said he also discussed with Medialdea the programs he has for Benguet as its caretaker.

“We thank Medialdea for his commitment to support Benguet in any way possible – to move forward from the previous condition of the province that he was well aware of,” he said.

Yap, chair of the appropriations committee, has assured Benguet of the continuing assistance and social services from the government. 

“We are making sure that public service is delivered in every community, no matter how remote the barangay is,” he said. – Ofelia C. Empian