Close  
  • share this
THIRD ATTEMPT AT SELF-GOVERNANCE

Gauge views on autonomy, Cordillera leaders asked

05:16 AM February 12, 2019
Gauge views on autonomy, Cordillera leaders asked

CORDILLERA’S FUTURE Young Cordillerans join their elders in preserving their culture and traditions through community festivals. An autonomous government in the Cordillera ensures that its people will have a voice in charting the region’s future, local officials say. —EV ESPIRITU

BAGUIO CITY—The constitutional mandate to form a Cordillera autonomous region has again drawn the attention of the government, following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

But to get the support of President Rodrigo Duterte, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia suggested holding a “preplebiscite” to gauge how Cordillera residents really felt about a third bid for autonomy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Since 1987, Cordillera has been operating as an administrative region through Executive Order No. 220, which then President Corazon Aquino issued after a “sipat” (ceasefire) with former rebel priest Conrado Balweg.

Constitutional mandate

FEATURED STORIES

The Cordillera Administrative Region — composed of the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Apayao, Abra and Kalinga, and Baguio City — was organized to prepare its residents for autonomy.

Like Muslim Mindanao, the Cordillera is described in Section 15, Article X of the 1987 Constitution as home to people with distinct historical and cultural heritage and is entitled to an autonomous region.

But two organic laws to form the Cordillera autonomous region were rejected in plebiscites in 1990 and 1998.

The Cordillera Regional Development Council and the region’s lawmakers had pushed for a third autonomy law, but the latest measure did not pass the 17th Congress and would need to be revived in the 18th Congress.

Pernia said the majority votes against the two autonomous laws appeared to have discouraged national support for the third autonomy campaign.

‘Tipping point’

It was a sentiment voiced by the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

ADVERTISEMENT

Instead of backing the autonomy bill, Aquino pursued in 2011 a closure agreement with Balweg’s militia, the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, to resolve the peace talks began by his mother.

“If the results [of a preliminary referendum on the autonomy campaign] are a resounding ‘Yes,’ that would be the tipping point as far as getting the autonomy bill passed,” Pernia said during a press briefing after a forum on autonomy at Camp John Hay here last week.

“It would be the impetus for President [Duterte] to make [an autonomy] bill urgent,” he said.

“It just occurred to me I should have mentioned the preplebiscite [at the forum] … The push of the Cordillerans for autonomy could get a boost if there’s going to be a preplebiscite for which people are well-informed about the ramifications of an autonomous region,” he said.

He cited the problems faced by the United Kingdom regarding its exit from the European Union, which, he said, “remains an uncertainty.”

“There are proposals to have another referendum [to see] if people really want it,” he said. “It seems that in the first [Brexit] referendum, people were not adequately informed.”

Pernia said: “I think a good information campaign of what a Cordillera autonomous region really means would be important.” —Vincent Cabreza

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: car, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cordillera autonomy, Ernesto Pernia, Rodrigo Duterte
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
newsinfo

New rice tariffication law inutile – Ibon

February 20, 2019 05:38 AM

business

3rd telco rollout plan faces new delay

February 20, 2019 05:36 AM

newsinfo

De Lima: I do my job in jail

February 20, 2019 05:36 AM

newsinfo

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos: Relese coco levy now

February 20, 2019 05:32 AM

business

Amro raises 2019 growth forecast for PH

February 20, 2019 05:32 AM




© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.