CAR AT 27

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By Jonathan Llanes

The Maryknoller

Thursday, July 17, 2014


TWENTY-SEVEN years ago saw the creation of the former Mountain Province and three others into an administrative region preparatory to it becoming the autonomous region of the Cordillera.

The main intent of its creation led by rebel priest Fr. Conrado Balweg was to unite the diverse ethnic tribal culture of the six provinces and two cities unique to the Cordillera.

As the twenty seventh year of its existence is being observed this month of July through the Cordillera month, it seems like the people of the region is slowly understanding the positive benefits of being an autonomous region.
Just recently, Cordillera representatives in the lower house unanimously approved House Bill 4649 or the third creation of the organic act as a prelude to a regional plebiscite that will determine the future of the Cordillera.

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In the week long journey of the "Unity Gong", signs show favorable intentions for an autonomous state.

And as we mark the twenty seventh year of the Cordillera as an administrative region, it is timely that we share to you the specific provisions of Executive Order 220 signed by then President Corazon Aquino as part of our campaign to inform and educate our Cordillera brethren's.

CREATING A CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 1, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, there shall be created an autonomous region in the Cordilleras;
WHEREAS, Section 15, Article X of the Constitution provides that 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 and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines;

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 6, Article XVIII of the Constitution, the President has the power to continue to exercise legislative powers until the first Congress is convened;

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 14, Article X of the Constitution, the President shall provide for regional development councils or other similar bodies composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments and other government offices, and representatives from non-governmental organizations within the regions for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy of the units therein and to accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units in the region;

WHEREAS, the incumbent President is sympathetic to the common desire of the peoples of the Cordilleras to be immediately granted meaningful participation in the conduct of their affairs, in order to enable them to prepare for regional autonomy;

WHEREAS, the constitutional mandate for the creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras has been preceded by the movement for local autonomy and administrative decentralization before and since the period of authoritarian rule (September 1972 February 1986), as manifested by the work of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, the 1976 resolution of governors and other leaders from the Cordilleras, and finally the regional autonomy representations at the 1986 Constitutional Commission;

WHEREAS, on September 13, 1986, the President of the Philippines met with the representatives of the Cordillera Bodong Administration and the Cordillera People's Liberation Army, presided over the alasiw (exchange of peace tokens) to signify the sipat (cessation of hostilities), and acknowledged their aspirations for Cordillera autonomy;

WHEREAS, the immediate creation of a Cordillera Administrative Region is a sound and reasonable measure by which the people of the Cordilleras can immediately participate in the pursuit of peace and development and enjoy the benefits thereof;

WHEREAS, the Constitution envisions the building of a just and humane society, and the National Government is pursuing the goals of national reconciliation, peace, unity and development in the country;

WHEREAS, pending the convening of the first Congress and the enactment of the organic act for a Cordillera autonomous region, there is an urgent need, in the interest of national security and public order, for the President to reorganize immediately the existing administrative structure in the Cordilleras to suit it to the existing political realities therein and the Government's legitimate concerns in the areas, without attempting to pre-empt the constitutional duty of the first Congress to undertake the creation of an autonomous region on a permanent basis.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree:

Sec. 1. Cordillera Administrative Region. There is hereby created a Cordillera Administrative Region, hereinafter referred to as the CAR.

Sec. 2. Territorial Coverage. For purposes of the CAR, the region shall consist of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mt. Province and the chartered city of Baguio. Until otherwise provided by the Cordillera Executive Board (CEB), the seat of the CAR shall be Baguio City. The National Government shall provide appropriate offices therefor.

Sec. 3. Purposes. The CAR shall have the following purposes:

(a) Administer the affairs of government in the region as defined in Section 4 and 5 below;
(b) Accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units of the region; and
(c) Prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras.

Sec. 4. Scope of Authority and Responsibility. The CAR shall have authority and responsibility in the region over the following:
(a) Regional administrative system;
(b) Economic, social and cultural development;
(c) Agricultural, commercial and industrial development and promotion of tourism;
(d) Infrastructure development;
(e) Urban and rural development, protection of ancestral domain and land reform;
(f) Regional educational system, including the establishment and maintenance of educational institutions and the formulation of educational policies to cultivate the indigenous Cordillera cultures and inculcate traditional values;
(g) Health, sports, welfare and social services;
(h) Development of indigenous laws and political institutions, particularly those of direct democracy and collective leadership, as well as the promotion of indigenous institutions and processes for conflict resolution and dispute settlement;
(i) Preservation and enhancement of indigenous customs, traditions, languages and cultures;
(j) Strengthening of the bodong system of tribal unity and cooperation;
(k) Protection and preservation of the cultural identity, values, mores and norms of the various ethno-linguistic groups in the Cordilleras;
(l) Promotion of social justice and protection of human rights, particularly the rights of women, children, the elderly and disadvantaged groups, as well as the rights of people's organizations; and
(m) Such other matters as may be authorized by law or delegated by the President for the promotion of the general welfare.

Sec. 5. Powers and Functions. The CAR shall coordinate the planning and implementation of programs and services in the areas enumerated in Section 4. Accordingly, it shall be vested with, among others, the following powers and functions:

(a) Coordinate with the local government units as well as with the executive departments of the National Government in the supervision of field offices and in identifying, planning, monitoring, and accepting projects and activities in the region;
(b) Appoint, supervise, control and discipline personnel of the CAR and of such other offices as may be funded by it;
(c) Manage and control funds, facilities and equipment appropriated for the CAR;
(d) Advise the National Government on matters affecting the Cordilleras;
(e) Undertake studies towards codifying the customary laws of the tribes, including the pagtas of the bodong system; and
(f) Promulgate and implement resolutions, rules and regulations necessary to achieve effectively the purposes of this Executive Order and to carry out the powers and functions of the CAR.

Sec. 6. Peace and Regional Security. Within the framework of the Constitution and applicable laws, the restoration and maintenance of peace within the region shall be a major concern of the CAR.

A regional security force shall be organized to assist in the defense and security of the region subject to guidelines issued for this purpose by the President after consultations with the CAR, other organizations, and appropriate agencies of the Government.
The defense and security of the region shall be the responsibility of the National Government.

Sec. 7. Structure of the CAR. The CAR shall have a Cordillera Regional Assembly and a Cordillera Executive Board.

Sec. 8. The Cordillera Regional Assembly. Within the framework of the Constitution, laws and policies of the National Government, the Cordillera Regional Assembly shall be the policy-formulating body which shall articulate and harmonize the interests and aspirations of the people of the Cordilleras. It shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) representatives to be appointed according to the following guidelines:
(a) Each municipality shall have one (1) representative;
(b) Baguio City shall have ten (10) representatives;
(c) The non-governmental organizations shall be entitled to a total of eighteen (18) representatives twelve (12) of whom shall come from the major non- governmental organizations in the region to be determined according to the size of their membership and six (6) from province based non-governmental organizations.
(d) Each tribe shall send to the Assembly one (1) representative.
Tribal representatives shall be chosen by the tribes in a manner consonant with the Constitution and in harmony with the indigenous decision-making processes in the Cordilleras.

The Assembly shall be headed by a Chairman who shall be appointed by the President from among its members. The chairman shall be the titular head of the CAR.

The President shall also appoint members from non- governmental organizations as well as representatives of the municipalities and of Baguio City upon nomination of their respective municipal and city councils.

Sec. 9. Sessions. The Assembly shall convene once every year for a five-day regular session starting on the 25th day of April provided, however, that a regular session shall be held in 1987.

The Chairman may call a special session as may be necessary. A special session may also be convened upon the initiative of the majority of all the members of the Assembly.

During the regular session, the Assembly shall:
(a) Discuss the annual report of the Executive Board and the proposed budget for the CAR;
(b) Initiate plans and programs for the Cordilleras;
(c) Discuss and resolve inter-tribal issues and conflicts;
(d) Formulate policies affecting the Cordilleras consistent with national and local laws; and
(e) Identify priority projects and development program for the region.
The decisions of the Assembly shall be implemented by the Cordillera Executive Board.

Sec. 10. The Cordillera Executive Board. The Cordillera Executive Board shall be the development body and implementing arm of the CAR. The President shall appoint the twenty-nine (29) regular members of the Board as follows: (a) Mayor of Baguio City and the five (5) Governors of the provinces enumerated in Section 2; (b) six (6) representatives from the Cordillera Bodong Administration, one of whom shall be its chief executive; (c) twelve (12) representatives from the different ethno-linguistic groups in the Cordillera; and (d) five (5) representatives from non-governmental organizations.

All regional directors of the line departments of the National Government shall be non-voting ex-officio members of the Executive Board.
Sec. 11. Executive Director. The Cordillera Executive Board shall be headed by a full-time Executive Board who shall be headed by a full-time Executive Director who shall be appointed by the President from among its regular members.

The Executive Director shall have the following functions:
(a) Act on behalf of the President as Chief Executive Officer of the CAR;
(b) Preside over the meetings of the Executive Board;
(c) Initiate the proposed budget and annual report for the CAR for the approval of the Executive Board;
(d) Supervise, control and discipline personnel of the Executive Board and of such other offices as may be funded by it;
(e) Coordinate and supervise the Executive Committees and the Cordillera Bodong Administration; and
(f) Perform all other functions assigned by law, the President, the Cordillera Regional Assembly or the Executive Board.

Sec. 12. The Executive Committees. The Cordillera Executive Board may create executive committees to assist in the implementation of its powers and functions. Each committee shall be headed by a member of the Executive Board.

Sec. 13. The Cordillera Bodong Administration. The Cordillera Bodong Administration shall be incorporated into the CAR as a commission and shall hereinafter be referred to as the CBA. In the territorial units where it is effective, the CBA shall have the following powers and responsibilities:
(a) Promote respect for the customs and usages of the tribes concerned;
(b) Foster unity among the various communities in the Cordilleras and promote regional confederation;
(c) Observe the traditional practice of direct democracy and collective leadership in the Cordilleras within the context of and in harmony with administrative mechanisms of the National Government;
(d) Preserve and develop the communal social order and economic system;
(e) Perform all functions of the Executive Committees referred to in Section 12; and
(f) Perform such other functions as may be determined by the Executive Board.

The definition and identification of the territorial units of the CBA shall be submitted to and confirmed by the Executive Board and adopted by the Assembly.

The CBA shall be supervised by and be responsible to the Cordillera Executive Board.

Sec. 14. CBA Budget. The CAR, through the Executive Board, shall allocate part of its budget for the operation of the CBA.

Sec. 15 Compensation. The Chairman and members of the Assembly as well as the Executive Director and members of the Executive Board shall receive allowances and per diems as determined by the President in accordance with existing laws and regulations. The city mayor and governors who are members of the Board shall receive additional emoluments as may be allowed by law.
The Chairman of the Assembly shall receive such additional allowances as may be necessary to perform the functions of his office.

The Executive Director and the heads of the Executive Communities shall receive an annual compensation to be determined by the Executive Board.
Sec. 16. Civil Service Rules and Regulations. For purposes of the CAR, exemptions from Civil Service rules and regulations may be provided by the Civil Service Commission.

Sec. 17. Period of Existence. The CAR and its Assembly and Executive Board shall exist until such time as the autonomous regional government shall have been established and organized under an organic act passed by Congress in accordance with Section 18, Article X of the Constitution.
Sec. 18. Term of Office. The term of office of the members and officers of the Assembly and Executive Board shall be coterminous with the period of existence of the CAR.

The city mayor, the governors, and the regional directors shall hold office as members of the Executive Board only during the term for which they were elected and/or appointed.

Sec. 19. Rules of Procedures. The Assembly and the Executive Board shall each adopt by a majority vote of their members their own rules of procedure as well as rules and regulations on discipline and privileges. They shall also prescribe rules and regulations regarding internal organization, sessions, meetings and quorum.

Sec. 20. Projects. The CAR, through its Executive Board, shall monitor the implementation of all ongoing national and local government projects in the region within the purview of Section 5(a) hereof.

Sec. 21. Appropriations and Funds. There is hereby appropriated from available funds of the National Treasury the amount of five (5) million pesos for the operation of the CAR for the fiscal year 1987. Thereafter, an annual appropriation for its budget shall be included in the General Appropriations Act.

The President and appropriate national departments and agencies shall make available sources of funds for priority physical, social and economic development programs and projects as recommended by the CAR.

The collection, custody, use and disbursement of public funds in the CAR shall be governed by its resolutions, rules and regulations of the Executive Board consonant with national laws, rules and regulations.

Sec. 22. Taxes and Resources. The CAR shall receive an equitable share of the taxes and other government revenues generated in the CAR territorial coverage. For this purpose, as part of the BIR allotment in the region, the CAR and the local government units within the Cordillera Administrative Region's territorial coverage shall have at least fifty percent (50%) share of such taxes and other government revenues to be distributed as follows: ten percent (10%) to barangays, ten percent (10%) to municipalities, fifteen percent (15%) to provinces or cities, fifteen percent (15%) to the CAR.

To ensure proper implementation of the principle of equitable sharing, the President shall direct the Department of Finance and appropriate national departments and agencies to coordinate with the CAR.

Sec. 23. Grants, Donations, Gifts. Within the framework of pertinent laws and regulations, the CAR shall be authorized to receive grants, donations or gifts, provided that such grants, donations or gifts shall be administered, obligated and disbursed in accordance with the terms thereof, or in the absence of such terms, in such manner as a majority of the executive Board may determine.

Sec. 24. Relationship with the National Government. The President shall have the power of general supervision over the CAR and the local government units therein and shall issue the appropriate guidelines therefor. The President may also call upon the appropriate executive departments and agencies of the National Government to assist the CAR as may be necessary.
The Executive Director shall submit a semi-annual report to the President.
Sec. 25. Transitory Provisions.

1) The Executive Board shall conduct a study on the territorial coverage of the Cordillera autonomous region to be established under an organic act to be passed by the Congress under Section 15 and 18, Article X, of the Constitution. This territorial coverage may include provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographic areas contiguous to the territory defined under Section 2.
2) The President may call upon the Assembly to assist her in constituting the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission.
Consonant with Section 3(c) hereof, the CAR shall contribute in a meaningful and appropriate manner to the work of the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission and in the preparation of the organic act by Congress for the Cordillera autonomous region.
3) Pursuant to Section 2, the main offices of the CAR shall be located at the Cordillera House in Baguio City until otherwise determined by the Cordillera Executive Board.

Sec. 26. Separability Clause. The provisions of this Executive Order are hereby declared to be separable, and in the event any one or more of such provisions are held unconstitutional, such shall not affect the validity of other provisions.

Sec. 27. Repealing Clause. For purposes of the CAR and for the duration of its existence, and all laws, acts, presidential decrees, executive orders, proclamations and/or administrative regulations which are inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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