Cordillera Representatives Menchie Bernos, Eleonor Bulut-Begtang, Solomon Chungalao, Maximo Dalog, Jr., Mark Go, Allan Jesse Mangaong and Eric Yap filed House Bill No. 3267 which seeks to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
The bill seeks to establish an effective political entity, provide for the basic structure of government in recognition of the fundamental and Constitutional right of the Cordillerans to self-determination and the pursuit of their duty to protect, conserve and develop their patrimony and cultural heritage, and the attainment of meaningful and effective governance.
Rep. Mark Go, one of the principal authors, said, "Once again, we are collectively pushing for the enactment of this bill to finally fulfill the Constitutional mandate of creating an autonomous region for the Cordillera. Its establishment is long overdue."
Two Organic Acts for the creation of the Cordillera autonomous region were enacted in 1990 and in 1998. However, both measures were rejected by the Cordillerans in separate plebiscites. Following these two failed attempts, extensive information dissemination campaigns and public consultations were conducted to craft a legislative measure that will truly reflects the needs and aspirations of the people of the Cordilleras for regional autonomy.
"Autonomy shall serve as the foundation upon which the people of Cordillera shall be empowered to pursue sustainable and inclusive growth, through the management, protection and development of their natural and human resources, and the promotion of the culture of the Cordilleran people," the Baguio solon said.
Once passed into law, the Cordillera region will exercise meaningful self-governance where Cordillerans will be "free to pursue their political, economic, social and cultural development within the framework of national sovereignty and in accordance with the Constitution."
The same bill was approved by the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress but failed to get the approval of the Senate due to lack of material time.
Source: Text and photo from the Office of Congressman Mark Go