Cosalan to make changes to Autonomy Bill

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Friday, June 20, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Benguet Representative Ronald Cosalan said amendments to the recently filed Autonomy Bill will be introduced.

Cosalan tagged the unified effort by Cordillera congressmen to file the bill as an act of unity but said the introduction of amendments will be underway.

On June 11, the entire representation of the region filed House Bill 4649 in a bid to achieve an autonomous region. Representatives Nicasio Aliping of Baguio City; Manuel Agyao of Kalinga; Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao; Eleanor Begtang of Apayao; Maximo Dalog Sr. of Mountain Province; Maria Jocelyn Bernos of Abra; and Cosalan signed the Act establishing the Cordillera autonomous region.

Cosalan said amendments will include a massive consultation with grass roots on autonomy going back to the barangay levels as well as the establishment of a regular region for those not interested in joining the process.

Cosalan is preparing to organize an autonomy summit explaining it is the only way to feel the pulse of the people in the province.

The summit will gather line agencies, stakeholders, indigenous people's representatives and government officials to talk about the issue of autonomy and how it will affect the province.

Cosalan said scare tactics to those who wish not to be autonomous should also be stopped, saying the move is threatening those not wanting autonomy to choose it least be thrown to region 1 or 2.

In the past, Cosalan advocated adherence to Executive Order 220, dating back to July 15, 1987 creating a Cordillera Administrative Region with the Constitution providing the autonomous region in the Cordilleras shall consist of provinces, cities, municipalities and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of the Constitution.

While autonomy is aimed to enhance benefits and entitlements of government employees here, establishing regional identity, and fast-tracking development, giving leaders the power to manage political affairs are also among its objectives.

Regional line agencies will continue to get funding from national offices and the regional government will only be given supervisory functions over these agencies.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 21, 2014.

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