Signature campaign sought for autonomy
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang has urged fellow lawmakers, other political leaders, and the public to unite in launching a signature campaign that calls for President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to certify the Cordillera Autonomous Region bill as urgent.
At the 35th Cordillera Day celebration on July 15 at the Baguio Convention Center, Mangaoang said it is evident the region is resolved to claim its autonomy after more than three decades after the creation of an administrative region.
“Let us sit down to create a massive signature campaign for President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to certify as priority our quest for autonomy,” Mangaoang said.
Mangaoang said he is optimistic of the passage of the bill under the current administration, with Marcos, Jr. being a kailian from Ilocos Norte.
He also called for unity among all sectors and stakeholders to show the national government that people of the Cordillera are ready to become an autonomous region.
The House of Representatives approved House Bill 568,7 or an Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera on third and final reading during their last session on June 2. However, the Senate failed to ratify HB 5687 when the 18th Congress adjourned.
Ifugao Gov. Jerry Dalipog, speaking on behalf of Rep. Solomon Chungalao, meanwhile, assured the continuing support of the province to the region’s quest for autonomy.
“As it was in the beginning, it was Ifugao who voted for a ‘yes’ during the plebiscite. There is no question that the Ifugao people will again support the bill,” Dalipog said.
Dalipog was referring to the first plebiscite for the ratification of the Organic Act creating the Cordillera Autonomous Region on Jan. 30, 1990, where Ifugao was the lone province that voted in favor of autonomy.
The second plebiscite was held in 1998 with Apayao voting in favor for autonomy.
Political bickering and lack of people’s understanding on the provisions of the Organic Act were among the reasons cited why Cordillerans overwhelmingly rejected the quest for autonomy.
Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog Jr., urged fellow officials and agency heads to continue generating public support towards the passage of the bill.
Dalog said even former officials should continue promoting the autonomy bill through information education campaigns to their constituents.
Former National Economic and Development Authority-CAR Director Milagros Rimando, who was the guest speaker during Benguet’s celebration of Cordillera Day, said there has been a consistent rise in the awareness level on the concept of regional autonomy based on survey held in 2021.
“Of course, there is that need to reach up to the new President to ensure he has a good understanding of what the Cordillera region needs. So, I’m sure knowing that the Cordillera has strongly supported him in the election, we know that he will be listening to the stakeholders in the CAR and in the end will support our quest for autonomy,” Rimando said. – Ofelia C. Empian