Four cordi areas seen to support autonomy

BAGUIO CITY – At least four areas in the Cordillera, including Baguio City, are seen to ratify the autonomy bill, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said on Wednesday.

The mayor said this was gauged from the strong reception shown by the people of these areas towards House Bill 5595 or "An Act Establishing the Cordillera Autonomous Region" which is currently being studied in the House of Representatives committee level.

The mayor said the pro-autonomy areas include Kalinga province where the bill was widely received during the Congress-Regional Development Council (RDC) information-education campaign (IEC) in the province last May 31.

The mayor said the people's reception towards autonomy is expected to further improve as the region-wide IEC continues in the various provinces and city.

After rounding up Baguio, Benguet and Kalinga, the mayor travelled to Mt. Province last Friday to lead the consultation

After the regional level, local government units will take over and conduct IEC in the grassroots.

The mayor said the procedure employed by the RDC of scouring the provinces and city to gather inputs as bases in drafting the autonomy act was a big factor in making the autonomy bill acceptable to the people.

The mayor reiterated the benefits of autonomy foremost of which is for the Cordillera region to finally establish a permanent regional identity where it will have freedom to manage its people and natural resources, enjoy more financial benefits from the national government while retaining the existing benefits and powers presently being enjoyed.

HB 5595 was principally authored by Baguio City Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara, Kalinga Rep. Manuel S. Agyao and Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang. Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. and Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog.

The bill was approved by the House Committee on Local Government on committee level and is expected to be submitted for plenary discussion after the IEC. – A Refuerzo

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