Cordillera lawmakers: IECs before autonomy summit-A A +A
Thursday, October 3, 2013
LAWMAKERS in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) said a more extensive information, education and communication (IEC) campaign on regional autonomy must be done prior to the conduct of a summit on the matter.
In a leaders’ forum on September 25 held in Quezon City and attended by all Cordillera lawmakers and 18 regional directors, Regional Development Council vice chairperson and National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director Milagros Rimando presented the RDC proposal to hold a regional summit on Cordillera autonomy.
It was agreed during the forum that a massive IEC will be conducted first to ensure the Cordillerans are properly consulted on the proposed renewed bid for CAR’s independence.
Subsequently, a regional summit will be undertaken early next year to decide whether to adopt the House Bill 5595 as is then re-file it, or to make amendments first then re-file the bill. A resolution urging the CAR lawmakers to file the bill will be passed in the regional summit is also expected.
Benguet Representative Ronald Cosalan said an IEC campaign targeting the grassroots is necessary to show whether a clamor for autonomy indeed exists. The CAR provincial governors must also be consulted, he added.
Representative Eleanor Bulut-Begtang of Apayao affirmed leaders must consider the sentiments of the people as regional autonomy will affect the lives of the present and the future generations of Cordillerans.
Kalinga Representative Manuel Agyao of Kalinga emphasized there were people who voted against regional autonomy in the previous plebiscites not because they were against it but because they failed to understand the concept.
Abra Representative Ma. Jocelyn Bernos stressed grassroots IEC is necessary especially in Abra where many were not supportive of regional autonomy.
Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat also stressed it is crucial to do an extensive IEC at the barangay level and to get the support of President Benigno Aquino III.
An IEC at the barangay level, together with a pulse survey showing the masses want autonomy can help convince the president, Baguilat reasoned.
Meanwhile, Baguio Representative Nicasio Aliping stressed all Cordillera congressmen must be unanimous in filing the bill. (Shah Balaw-ing)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 04, 2013.