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Archives on the Cordillera Autonomy

JULY 2004

RDC White Paper: Advancing the Cordilllera Agenda Regional Autonomy

I. The Regional Development Council-CAR and the Agenda for Regional


Autonomy in Context

The Cordillera Administrative Region was created on July 15, 1987 per E.O. 220 to
administer the regional affairs of government, accelerate the economic and social
growth and development of the units of the region, and prepare for the establishment
of the autonomous region. To pursue CAR'S purposes, the CAR bodies were organized:
the Cordillera Regional Assembly as the policy-formulating entity and the Cordillera
Executive Board as the development arm.

In Year 2000, Congress did not provide budget for the CAR bodies and were
subsequently de-activated, a situation that left a vacuum in regional coordination and
in the pursuit of CAR'S purposes. In July 2001, the President, in response to the
initiatives of the Region's leaders, issued E.O. 30 that constituted a Cordillera
Regional Development Council "which shall be the primary institution for setting the
direction of economic and social development in CAR and through which regional
development efforts shall be coordinated". E.O. 30 stipulates that E.O. 325, which is
the enabling law of RDCs in all regions, shall be applicable to the CAR. With the CAR
bodies de-activated and a regular RDC organized, it can be said that the first two
original purposes of the CAR are somewhat addressed but the third purpose of
preparing the region for the establishment of the autonomous region was sidelined.

Yet E.O. 220 remains in force unless repealed or amended per Supreme Court ruling in
December 1990. This brings to the fore the question of which institution shall take the
third purpose for which the CAR was created.

There are three institutions in the region that coordinate regional government efforts
with separate mandates but could be said to be at par with each other. The RDC
coordinates socio-economic development per E.O. 325/E.O 30. The Regional Peace and
Order Council (RPOC) coordinates efforts against criminality and insurgency per E.O.
320. The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) ensures disaster
preparedness and coordinates resources for disaster operations per P.D. 1566.
Functionally, the RDC is more encompassing in coverage than both the RPOC and the
RDCC which are sectoral in extent. This functional difference puts the RDC in a
position of authority to pursue the CAR'S purpose on autonomy.

During its Strategic Planning Workshop in March 2006 at Mount Data, Bauko,
Mountain Province, the RDC-CAR decided to adopt the pursuit of regional autonomy
as the overarching theme of Cordillera development. It took on the challenge to re-
invent itself to pursue this development goal and consequently assumed the powers
of the CAR bodies as defined by E.O. 220 (RDC Res, No. CAR-09, s. 2006).

In the same strategic planning workshop, the RDC conceded to its logistical limits to
undertake its special actions as a re-invented organization. It, therefore, embarked on
a mission to influence the Cordillera legislators to move for the restoration of the
usual budget of the CAR bodies to be administered by the RDC-CAR in the pursuit of
CAR'S mandate per E.O. 220. The RDC gained momentum in its lobbying as the
national government granted it a budget of P15 Million pesos for 2007 to pursue an
initial agenda in preparing the region for autonomy.

To strengthen its re-inventing, the RDC-CAR aims to take the further steps of working
out an amendment of E.O. 30 through a presidential issuance and the amendment of
E.O. 220 through Congress to attain expanded corporate powers though short of full
regional autonomy. In these efforts, the re-invented RDC-CAR endeavors to showcase
the region's ability to gain increasing fiscal autonomy through judicious exercise of
corporate powers, among others, as a prelude to full autonomy.

II. Rationale for Embarking on the Regional Autonomy Agenda

Regional autonomy is the overarching theme of the CAR Development Agenda: 2006-2010 per
aforementioned earlier RDC actions.

The RDC members recognize that the region's development should be grounded on Cordillera
autonomy that respects the unique and distinct yet varied cultures of its people. This recognition
stems from the following persuasion:

An autonomous set-up could hasten CAR's development pace. The RDC believes that the region
could speed up its development pace and achieve more in an autonomous set-up. From a careful
assessment by regional planners, the CAR's regional development agenda for 2006-2010
features key focus areas that generate alternative economic activities. The RDC hopes that this
strategic approach would eventually re-structure the regional economy and put in place a
diversification and broadening of the region's sources of growth, away from a heavy reliance on
Baguio-based manufacturing and mainly from PEZA-based industries. Through the key focus
development areas, the RDC is convinced that the region has the potential to become self-
sufficient by capitalizing on particular identified abundant natural resources and tapping certain
areas of competence. In informal discussions, many of the RDC members argue that under an
autonomous set-up, significant strides could be made on the bid to have control over the
regional patrimony which could further spur socio-economic development.

Fiscal autonomy could be modeled in CAR to effectively implement the regional development
agenda. The RDC believes that the region needs to develop its fiscal capability and position and
strive to gain a modicum of self-reliance and veer away from full dependence on national
government funding to effectively implement regional development priorities. For instance, the
RDC has always advocated alternative planning standards for CAR due to its mountainous terrain
and dispersed settlement pattern that bear additional cost to projects. With standard planning
guidelines still in place, the RDC is convinced that development priorities in CAR are likely to lose
out in national prioritization. The foregoing challenge has encouraged the RDC to model fiscal
autonomy by exploring possibilities such as reviewing the E.O 220 provision on CAR sharing from
income taxes in the region that has been stopped by the Department of Finance. The RDC
believes that this provision, once re-implemented, would allow it to partly demonstrate the
region's ability to achieve fiscal autonomy which it also considers to be one strong foundation
and pre-requisite for full autonomy.

The region needs to establish a position of strength in future negotiations for autonomy. The RDC
further believes that the CAR needs to firm up its position on regional autonomy before the
subject could be rendered irrelevant by moves to change the Philippine Constitution that may
include a shift to a federal form of government. There is a growing idea in the RDC that the
autonomy issue should now be confronted to jumpstart an increasing regional consensus that
should precede moves towards federalism, for instance.

In the event that federalism is inevitable, the CAR leaders expressed their strong inclination for
CAR to be treated as a separate state in the best interest of its people, accordingly contrary to
the possibility of CAR becoming an entity of a larger grouping such as an aggrupation of Northern
Luzon regions as one federal state. Logically, if moves for a regional autonomous set-up in CAR
could be speeded up, it may be a showcase for a federal state and therefore renders the merger
of CAR with other regions moot and academic.

The establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras is a Constitutional provision that


must be pursued. Section 1, Art. X of the Philippine Constitution mandates the creation of an
autonomous region in Mindanao and the Cordilleras. E.G. 220 created the CAR in 1987 with the
purpose of preparing the region for autonomy. The first Organic Act was overwhelmingly rejected
in 1990 with only the Province of Ifugao ratifying it and the second was similarly rejected in 1998
with only the Province of Apayao favorably voting for it. After the prudent approach of
discernment on the autonomy issue, the RDC as the primary institution for regional development
coordination, took the responsibility to advance the regional autonomy agenda. Inasmuch as
autonomy for the Cordilleras is enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, it could only be in the
best interest of the Filipino citizens in the Cordilleras for it to be fulfilled.

Advancing the Cordilllera Agenda Regional Autonomy

I. The Regional Development Council-CAR and the Agenda for Regional Autonomy in
Context

The Cordillera Administrative Region was created on July 15, 1987 per E.O. 220 to administer the
regional affairs of government, accelerate the economic and social growth and development of
the units of the region, and prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region. To pursue
CARS purposes, the CAR bodies were organized: the Cordillera Regional Assembly as the policy-
formulating entity and the Cordillera Executive Board as the development arm.

In Year 2000, Congress did not provide budget for the CAR bodies and were subsequently de-
activated, a situation that left a vacuum in regional coordination and in the pursuit of CARS
purposes. In July 2001, the President, in response to the initiatives of the Regions leaders, issued
E.O. 30 that constituted a Cordillera Regional Development Council which shall be the primary
institution for setting the direction of economic and social development in CAR and through
which regional development efforts shall be coordinated. E.O. 30 stipulates that E.O. 325, which
is the enabling law of RDCs in all regions, shall be applicable to the CAR. With the CAR bodies de-
activated and a regular RDC organized, it can be said that the first two original purposes of the
CAR are somewhat addressed but the third purpose of preparing the region for the establishment
of the autonomous region was sidelined.

Yet E.O. 220 remains in force unless repealed or amended per Supreme Court ruling in December
1990. This brings to the fore the question of which institution shall take the third purpose for
which the CAR was created.
There are three institutions in the region that coordinate regional government efforts with
separate mandates but could be said to be at par with each other. The RDC coordinates socio-
economic development per E.O. 325/E.O 30. The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC)
coordinates efforts against criminality and insurgency per E.O. 320. The Regional Disaster
Coordinating Council (RDCC) ensures disaster preparedness and coordinates resources for
disaster operations per P.D. 1566. Functionally, the RDC is more encompassing in coverage than
both the RPOC and the RDCC which are sectoral in extent. This functional difference puts the
RDC in a position of authority to pursue the CARS purpose on autonomy.

During its Strategic Planning Workshop in March 2006 at Mount Data, Bauko, Mountain Province,
the RDC-CAR decided to adopt the pursuit of regional autonomy as the overarching theme of
Cordillera development. It took on the challenge to re-invent itself to pursue this development
goal and consequently assumed the powers of the CAR bodies as defined by E.O. 220 (RDC Res,
No. CAR-09, s. 2006).

In the same strategic planning workshop, the RDC conceded to its logistical limits to undertake
its special actions as a re-invented organization. It, therefore, embarked on a mission to influence
the Cordillera legislators to move for the restoration of the usual budget of the CAR bodies to be
administered by the RDC-CAR in the pursuit of CARS mandate per E.O. 220. The RDC gained
momentum in its lobbying as the national government granted it a budget of P15 Million pesos
for 2007 to pursue an initial agenda in preparing the region for autonomy.

To strengthen its re-inventing, the RDC-CAR aims to take the further steps of working out an
amendment of E.O. 30 through a presidential issuance and the amendment of E.O. 220 through
Congress to attain expanded corporate powers though short of full regional autonomy. In these
efforts, the re-invented RDC-CAR endeavors to showcase the regions ability to gain increasing
fiscal autonomy through judicious exercise of corporate powers, among others, as a prelude to
full autonomy.

II. Rationale for Embarking on the Regional Autonomy Agenda

Regional autonomy is the overarching theme of the CAR Development Agenda: 2006-2010 per
aforementioned earlier RDC actions.

The RDC members recognize that the regions development should be grounded on Cordillera
autonomy that respects the unique and distinct yet varied cultures of its people. This recognition
stems from the following persuasion:

An autonomous set-up could hasten CARs development pace. The RDC believes that the region
could speed up its development pace and achieve more in an autonomous set-up. From a careful
assessment by regional planners, the CARs regional development agenda for 2006-2010
features key focus areas that generate alternative economic activities. The RDC hopes that this
strategic approach would eventually re-structure the regional economy and put in place a
diversification and broadening of the regions sources of growth, away from a heavy reliance on
Baguio-based manufacturing and mainly from PEZA-based industries. Through the key focus
development areas, the RDC is convinced that the region has the potential to become self-
sufficient by capitalizing on particular identified abundant natural resources and tapping certain
areas of competence. In informal discussions, many of the RDC members argue that under an
autonomous set-up, significant strides could be made on the bid to have control over the
regional patrimony which could further spur socio-economic development.
Fiscal autonomy could be modeled in CAR to effectively implement the regional development
agenda. The RDC believes that the region needs to develop its fiscal capability and position and
strive to gain a modicum of self-reliance and veer away from full dependence on national
government funding to effectively implement regional development priorities. For instance, the
RDC has always advocated alternative planning standards for CAR due to its mountainous terrain
and dispersed settlement pattern that bear additional cost to projects. With standard planning
guidelines still in place, the RDC is convinced that development priorities in CAR are likely to lose
out in national prioritization. The foregoing challenge has encouraged the RDC to model fiscal
autonomy by exploring possibilities such as reviewing the E.O 220 provision on CAR sharing from
income taxes in the region that has been stopped by the Department of Finance. The RDC
believes that this provision, once re-implemented, would allow it to partly demonstrate the
regions ability to achieve fiscal autonomy which it also considers to be one strong foundation
and pre-requisite for full autonomy.

The region needs to establish a position of strength in future negotiations for autonomy. The RDC
further believes that the CAR needs to firm up its position on regional autonomy before the
subject could be rendered irrelevant by moves to change the Philippine Constitution that may
include a shift to a federal form of government. There is a growing idea in the RDC that the
autonomy issue should now be confronted to jumpstart an increasing regional consensus that
should precede moves towards federalism, for instance.

In the event that federalism is inevitable, the CAR leaders expressed their strong inclination for
CAR to be treated as a separate state in the best interest of its people, accordingly contrary to
the possibility of CAR becoming an entity of a larger grouping such as an aggrupation of Northern
Luzon regions as one federal state. Logically, if moves for a regional autonomous set-up in CAR
could be speeded up, it may be a showcase for a federal state and therefore renders the merger
of CAR with other regions moot and academic.

The establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras is a Constitutional provision that


must be pursued. Section 1, Art. X of the Philippine Constitution mandates the creation of an
autonomous region in Mindanao and the Cordilleras. E.G. 220 created the CAR in 1987 with the
purpose of preparing the region for autonomy. The first Organic Act was overwhelmingly rejected
in 1990 with only the Province of Ifugao ratifying it and the second was similarly rejected in 1998
with only the Province of Apayao favorably voting for it. After the prudent approach of
discernment on the autonomy issue, the RDC as the primary institution for regional development
coordination, took the responsibility to advance the regional autonomy agenda. Inasmuch as
autonomy for the Cordilleras is enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, it could only be in the
best interest of the Filipino citizens in the Cordilleras for it to be fulfilled.

OCTOBER 2006

Pursuing inclusive growth for all Cordillerans

This official website of the RDC of the Cordillera Administrative CAR aims to serve Cordillera
stakeholders through the provision of critical information relevant to coordination and
management of regional and local development. It also serves to inform stakeholders and the
general public on RDC's renewed pursuit of regional autonomy.

In its 2006 strategic planning workshop at Mt. Data, the RDC-CAR having realized the immense
benefits from being an autonomous region, affirmed to work out the unfulfilled constitutional
provision which provides for an autonomous region in the Cordillera and Mindanao and pursue
Cordillera Autonomy as an over-arching theme of its Regional Development Plan.

The Office of the President and the Congress affirmed this new mandate of social preparation for
autonomy to the RDC-CAR through its policy and budgetary allocation in the General
Appropriation Act (CYs 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012). As a basis for its information,
education and communication (IEC) and capability building, the RDC-CAR conducted a
community pulse survey on Cordillera Autonomy in late 2007 and recently this year, 2012.
Results of the 2007 survey showed that majority of the Cordillerans are either not aware nor
adequately knowledgeable of Cordillera Autonomy, and are likely to reject another Organic Act if
they were asked to vote now. The latest tracking survey (2012) revealed that about 53 percent of
Cordillera voters still remain unaware of the renewed pursuit for Cordillera Regional Autonomy
that the Regional Development Council (RDC) is initiating so that if a plebiscite is to be held
tomorrow, 48.8 percent would be undecided.

This website is by no means complete, its is work in progress. Please do keep coming, and may
we solicit your suggestions on how we may serve best the interests of the Cordilleras. Please
send your comments and suggestions to: nrocarkmd@gmail.com. Thanks!

AUGUST 2007

Cordillera Autonomy

Cheryl L. Daytec-Yagot

Smorgasboard of Random Thought, August 31, 2007

One thing about watching the TV evening news is that you get bolted out of your respite from
intellectual processes. History is unfurling. Dreams are being aired, and being shot down on air.
And you just have to proclaim your take. Last night, I learned that discussions on Cordillera
autonomy will be revived in Congress. This is in time for the commemoration of the Mt. Data
Peace Pact between renegade priest Fr. Conrado Balweg and Pres. Corazon Aquino in the late
1980s.

I do not know if the public has recovered from fatigue after two failed attempts at the
establishment of a Cordillera Autonomous Region.

I was a Director of the Cordillera Executive Board, the body created under Executive Order No.
220 to prepare the Cordillera Region for autonomy (Would you believe I was in my early 20s
when I got the appointment? I was so eager to do something really huge. Before my
appointment, I was already aware of the defects of the bureaucratic apparatuses. I thought I was
ready to deal with them. Gosh, the defects were endemic, as they are now. No wonder people
with vision and the heart for substantive change leave the bureaucracy frustrated.).

I witnessed how the last autonomy bill was crafted. Let me explain the rejection of the last
autonomy law this way: The people will resist what they do not identify with. They will all the
more resist what goes against their value system. No one is going to shove a meaningless paper
into their throats.
That rejected law, which suffered the fate of an earlier one in 1990, did not really foster
autonomy. It provided that all decisions on the control of the regions wealth will be left to the
Autonomous Region. This would have been fine, if not for the provision subtly smuggled into the
written rhetoric that regional laws must not contravene national laws. Very clever national
government! What it professed to give with the right hand, it actually intended to revoke with the
left. But we have a more clever people: they hurled the law fast into the trash bin where it
properly belonged. Amen! Did those people up there not realize that what has always impelled
us to assert our autonomy is the inherent clash between national laws and indigenous laws?

Autonomy is the right to self-determination. It is not granted; it is asserted. The United Nation
recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination as an inalienable collective right.

The initiative should come from the people and not dictated by the national government. If we
allow the national government to run the show, we will have a token autonomous region. We
ourselves will have authored the rape of our collective right.

We are for the establishment of an autonomous region, one that will allow the Cordillera IPs to
chart their own destiny and wrest control over the natural resources Kabunian intended for them
and their descendants. For this, we are ready to reject an Establishment-sponsored autonomy
law.

By the way, here is a piece I wrote way back:

Macliing Dulags Warding-Off Speech

If Kabunian gave you a land of milk and honey


and ordered you to take care of it for posterity
What will you do if intruders want to take
it away?

I imagine that you will fight


For they who do not are ungrateful to
Kabunian; they value not His gift
They ignore his command to defend the land
in the name coming generation thousands of years from now
They who do not, spit on the graves of their ancestors
who preserved the land for them
For land is life
For life is the land

If you were in our place


You will fight
You will fire your guns as we raise our spears
You will probably pay your way to the justice system
that does not understand our ways
For that is what you did to grab the lands of people
Like us on the other side of the mountain

So do not be stubborn in your ignorance of


Why we refuse to vacate the land which had
always been our home
We are the Palestinians in Palestine
The Lumads in Mindanao
The Mangyans in Mindoro
We are the Martians in Mars

Go away. Let our people sleep in peace

July 2008

Cordillera: Still not autonomous after 21 years of preparation

Published July 22, 2008 5:23pm

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - More than half of the people of the Cordillera Administrative Region
(CAR) have no idea that the 1987 Constitution provides for their autonomy. That's why after 21
years since the Constitution was passed, they still have not become the Cordillera Autonomous
Region not even after two plebiscites, one in 1995 and another in 1998, both of which failed.

To be exact, 64 percent of the people in the region know nothing about autonomy, according to a
survey conducted from October 2007 to January 2008 by the Regional Development Council.

"This is lamentable, and at the same time an eye opener," Baguio Rep. Mauricio Domogan told
several hundred participants of the Walk Cordillera Walk advocacy campaign on Monday at the
Baguio Athletic Bowl.

It was Juan Ngalob, the director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), who
cited the results of the survey.

Last Monday also happened to be the 21st anniversary of CAR, which was was created on July
15, 1987, supposedly as a first step to its becoming an autonomous region.

More statistics

While other parts of the country are clamoring for federalism and autonomy, Cordillerans have
no idea what such concepts could mean to them, politically or economically.

Ngalob cited more figures that should worry Cordillera politicians:

40 percent of Cordillerans do not know if the CAR is ready to become autonomous.

More than a third think CAR is not ready yet to become autonomous.

66 percent of Cordillerans would not know how to vote should a third organic act need to be
ratified in a plebiscite, as set in the Constitution.

Only 19 percent would vote to ratify an organic act.

15 percent said they would votes against ratifying an organic act.

Refocusing efforts

But Ngalob remains confident that the groundwork has been laid down and that an information
campaign could still lead to autonomy.
According to Ngalob, the government has decided to refocus its efforts to regional development
and autonomy to enable local officials to deliver functions devolved by the national government,
such as sharing taxes among regional agencies.

To achieve that, Domogan said some local officials are now proposing to amend Executive Order
220 which paved the way for the creation of the CAR.

"Let us work together to achieve what is good under EO220 without giving up the dream for
autonomy," Domogan said.

An autonomy law for the Cordillera is being crafted now, according to the legislator.

He admitted that how past political leaders in the region here wanted to ram through the organic
act without people really understanding the meaning of autonomy.

Shift To federalism

Autonomy advocate Gabino Ganggangan, a former mayor of Sadanga town in Mountain Province,
claims that the first two autonomy drafts were government sponsored laws that were "planned to
fail."

The issue of autonomy, he said, had become so unpopular that even the earlier prime movers
had shifted strategy by adopting a more prominent stance for federalism.

Leaders of the newly unified Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) and its political arm, the
Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) has agreed to pursue Cordillera autonomys political and
economic development agenda this time.

But it will do so in a wider and broader scope through a federal form of national governance,
according to Miguel Guimbatan Jr., who had helped the CPLA and CBA.

Lawyer Joel Obar, a former CBA chief executive, explained that the term autonomy has lost its
meaning after being misused, abused, and tainted with several negative connotations.

"Federalism is an answer," Obar said.

Obar still encourages advocates to resume their passion for self-determination and self-
governance through federalism. He suggests a separate federal state also for the Cebuanos, the
Ilongos, and the Warays.

Newly elected CPLA chief of staff Mando Mosing, alias Ka Mando, said: "Federalism has been our
stand even before the autonomy concept was introduced. We have a unique resource base and
cultural background. Development efforts should start from here."

In 1986, Mosing received the peace tokens from President Corazon Aquino during the Mount Data
peace accord with the CPLA.

Common culture, common aspirations

The upland region of the Cordillera is still composed of indigenous people in the provinces of
Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Apayao.

Each have diversified practices but with a distinct and common cultural heritage, history, and
aspirations.
CBA president Marcelina Bahatan suggests that other areas with distinct culture and resources
might want to develop and be governed with their own unique way through a federal regional
government.

A national movement to shift to a federal form of government is gaining ground with the proposal
of maintaining 11 federal estates.

From north to south, they are:

1. Northern Luzon

2. Cordillera

3. Central Luzon

4. Metro Manila

5. Southern Luzon

6. Bicol

7. Western Visayas and Palawan

8. Central and Eastern Visayas

9. Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula

10. Davao Region and Central Mindanao

11. Bangsamoro (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)

According to the federalism proposal: "Each is an autonomous regional government of the


federal republic. The territory of the different 'estados' is determined by a combination of
geographic contiguity of their component areas, their ethnic, linguistic and other cultural
aspects, and their socio-economic potential and viability." - GMANews.TV

September 13, 2010

Cordillera: Third Autonomy Law Proposal Drafted

Over a decade since the last autonomy law was penned and rejected, drafters have returned to
the drawing board amid mixed expectations from the public.

Below is an article published by Manila Bulletin:

The committee tasked by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera
Administrative Region (CAR) to prepare the working draft of the proposed autonomy law has
started to go back to the drawing board in order to thresh out the issues and concerns that led to
the twice rejection of the two autonomy laws submitted to the people for ratification on January
30, 1990 and March 7, 1998.

Despite the opposition being raised by embattled members of the disbanded Cordillera bodies on
the advancement of the autonomy drive, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan here insists on the need to
have the work done to craft a draft autonomy law which will be brought down to the grassroots
level for appropriate consultation before a third Organic Act will be crafted by Congress of the
Philippines.

According to Domogan, the crafting of a working draft of the Organic Act and the subsequent
conduct of consultations with the grassroots level is timely if it is done now in order to prevent it
from being politicized by individuals and groups with selfish and political interests that could
jeopardize the quest for self-governance.

Based on the timetable of the drafting committee, the provincial and city representatives must
already be designated by the concerned governors and city mayors on or before the end of the
month so that consultations will be done in their respective levels prior to the submission of
consultation results to the mother committee for finalization.

While there are some groups which are disgruntled on the efforts of the RDC-CAR to advance the
quest for autonomy because they want to lord it over the campaign even if they do not enjoy the
trust and confidence of the people, Domogan claimed self-proclaimed autonomy advocates could
question the works of the committee in the proper forum but their delaying tactics will not be a
hindrance to the performance of their assigned duties and responsibilities.

The 1987 Constitution mandates the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and
Muslim Mindanao but it was only Mindanao that was able to realize the constitutional provision in
1989.

Domogan asserted it is best to come out with a working draft on the proposed autonomy law so
that it will be the one which will be scrutinized by the people for them to be able to share their
inputs so that they could come out with an acceptable Organic Act that could be ratified during
the third attempt, thus, the need for the Cordillerans to grab the opportunity this time that all
sectors are now rallying behind the quest for self-rule.

Contrary to the contention of some groups that the Cordillera bodies, particularly the Cordillera
Executive Board, Cordillera Regional Assembly and Cordillera Bodong Administration, are the
ones mandated to draft the autonomy law, Domogan argued it is Congress of the Philippines
which is duly authorized to come out with the autonomy law which will in turn be submitted to
the Cordillerans in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Baguio City and
Tabuk City for ratification.

Autonomy advocates believe achieving self-governance is still the best option to help the people
move out from the shackles of poverty.

Cordillera Stakeholders convene, talks on autonomy and federalism underscored

The Regional Development Council (RDC)- CAR, through its Social Preparation of CAR into an
Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program, spearheaded a two- day Stakeholders Conference on
Autonomy and Federalism last May 30-31, 2016 at the Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City.

The conference aimed to enhance the understanding of autonomy stakeholders on the concepts
of regional autonomy and federalism towards a better convergence on the mode of self-
governance to be advocated in the region.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in his welcome message,expressed the need for newly
elected and re- elected local chief executives in the region to unite in realizing the clamour for
autonomy and for them to consider adopting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) draft to get a
more acceptable organic draft that will be presented to the 17th Congress.

Experts from different fields shared their insights during the conference.

Judge Cleto Villacorta III, of RTC Branch 229 Quezon City in the topic Constitution, IPRA, and
Regional Autonomy,stressed that there is no legal impediment for the Cordilleras in the
realization of an autonomous region since it is mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

Prof. Edmund Tayao, LOGODEF Executive Director, mentioned that federalism does not jeopardize
the advocacy on autonomy, in fact, federalism may strengthen it.In his lecture on the Cordillera
Options: Autonomy or Federalism, Tayao said that the Cordillera is in a better position to achieve
autonomy because its local governments are contiguously located near each other, unlike in the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where provinces are geographically separated
from mainland Mindanao.He also encouraged the advocates not to be disappointed by the past
failed plebiscites, instead he urged the advocates to aggressively pursue autonomy since it is
mandated in the 1987 Constitution and the shift to a federal form of government will take time.

NCMF Commissioner, Atty. Mohammad Al- Amin Julkipli,discussed the Political Aspect of Regional
Autonomy andthe existing challenges and issues that hinder the operation of the ARMM. One
issue is the lack of fiscal autonomy by the regional government. He also mentioned that the
ARMM is still in search for relevance and identity due to: failed local governance, conflicts from
double autonomy, and resources to local governments not translated to community
development.

Julkipli said that the shortcomings of the ARMM could be used by the Cordilleras in crafting the
desired autonomy law that is best acceptable to the region.

Ms. Victoria Tauli- Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of the Indigenous Peoples,
stressed that the pursuitfor autonomy has always been anchored on the right to self-
determination.On her discussion onSelf- Determination and Autonomy, she added that the
Cordilleras quest for autonomy sprung from the Chico Dam and Cellophil Project experiences
during the Marcos era.

Ifugao Provincial Administrator, Atty. Evelyn Dunuan, gave a lecture on Enhancing Cordillera
Indigenous Knowledge and Culture through Autonomy. She highlighted the need for an
autonomous region to enhance regional identity. Dunuan said that it is for a more holistic and
integrated observation of the Cordillera IPs/ ICCs customs, religious beliefs, traditions, IKSP, and
our rights to assert our character and identity as people.

Atty.Delmar Cario, BENECO Legal Counsel,explained the Interface between IPRA and Autonomy
Bill. He noted that the IPRA and Autonomy bill can co- exist. He said that House Bill 4649 sought
the establishment of a political autonomous identity while the IPRA is a legislative act that
recognizes IP rights and the use of traditional system by the IPs and ICCs.

Director Leila Magda Rivera of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)espoused
certain considerations in crafting the provisions on fiscal management.She underscored the
Fiscal Management in an Autonomous Regional Governmentsaying that autonomy is subject to
less interference from the National Government. Rivera said that the regional government should
generate its own revenues and resources, to invest in the right priorities, and to deliver
measurable results.

Autonomy stakeholders agreed to continue the advocacy for autonomy while waiting for the
incoming Presidents actions on the campaign for federalism.

Inputs to improve HB 4649 were likewise solicited from the participants.These include the
institutionalization of Schools of Living Tradition in every town in the Cordilleras, embedding of
indigenous governance to the political structure of an Autonomous Government, conduct of
cultural mapping to determine major ethnic groups in the region, utilization of existing research
papers on indigenous governance and customary laws, inclusion of indigenous laws in Law
Schools in the Cordillera, embedding pertinent provisions of the IPRA in the Autonomy Bill,
convergence of pertinent provisions of BBL to reflect in the proposed HB, strengthening the
powers of fiscal autonomy in the powers granted to the regional autonomy and conduct of an
intense review of the local government code vis--vis the proposed HB.

In closing, Economic Development PSR Dr. Virgilio Bautista said that we should be proud as
Cordillerans and be mindful that autonomy is for us. It is timely for the region to pass the bill,if
we will wait for a perfect bill then autonomy in the region will have to wait for another president,
he added.

Mt. Province elder, Mr. Jaime Dugao, said that talks about federalism should not confuse the
Cordilleras quest for autonomy. He mentioned that the Cordillera villages have been practicing
some degree of autonomy and have been harmoniously working with the local government.
Dugao advised the stakeholders that village level of governance can be adopted and developed
for region wide self-governance. He cited Dap- ay, as an example, which coexisted with the
present government. Dugao urged that all sectors must be consulted and that all the provinces,
not only two or three,should constitute the autonomous region.

RDC-CAR Vice-chair and NEDA-CAR Director Milagros A. Rimando ensured that solicited inputs
during the conference will be presented to the RDC Council for adoption.

Maridel P. Langbis, NEDA- SPCA

February 2016

House Committee on Local Government approves Cordi autonomy bill

QUEZON CITY Committee on Local Government Chair Pedro Acharon motioned for the approval
of House Bill No. 4649, An Act Establishing the Cordillera Autonomous Region during the
committee meeting held on February 1, 2016 at the House of Representatives Batasan
Complex.

The motion was made after Mountain Province Representative Maximo Dalog read the committee
report submitted by the Ad Hoc Committee chaired by Cong. Nicasio Aliping, Jr., containing the
accounts of the seven public hearings conducted in CAR in July 2015.

Also present was Kalinga Representative Manuel Agyao who co-authored the bill.
The Ad Hoc Committee recommends for the approval of House Bill 4649, An Act Establishing the
Cordillera Autonomous Region, said Dalog.

He cited, The Ad hoc Committee received no objection, or major proposal to amend the
proposed measure, in fact, those who attended the public consultations expressed their
overwhelming support for the passage of the proposed measure. The Committee is in receipt of
several manifestos, resolutions coming from the local governments of the Cordilleras including
non-government and peoples organizations, endorsing and supporting the proposed measure
which was presented to them during the public hearings.

Dalog highlighted the inherent constitutionality of the proposed bill and stressed on its clear-cut
purpose to allow the region to catch up with other regions in terms of development.

The bill obtained support from Representative Winston Castello of Quezon City and
Representative Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya manifested intent to co-author the bill.

Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez said that under the new rules of the house,
it will be a priority bill in the same committee if refiled in the 17th Congress.

No objections or amendments on the proposed Cordillera autonomy bill were posed by members
of the committee present in the hearing which motioned for its approval.

It could be recalled that the second hearing of the proposed organic act was in June 2015. This
plenary deliberation made through the Committees last meeting before the adjournment of the
third regular session of the 16th Congress starting February 6.

The same bill will then undergo subsequent hearings in the 17th Congress.

by: Mark Allen Ponciano, SPCAR

May 2016

RDC considers amending draft Cordi autonomy bill

The closure of the 15th Congress in the early part of 2013 for some time pigeonholed Cordilleras
long-overdue mandate to become autonomous.The draft autonomy bill, filed in December 6,
2011 as House Bill 5595 or An Organic Act for the Creation of an Autonomous Cordillera took
time before it was refiled in the 16th Congress.

Said bill was amended before it was refiled as House Bill 4649 or An Act Establishing the
Cordillera Autonomous Region on June 11, 2014, and was approved by the Congressional
Committee on Local Government on February 1, 2016

Since 2012, the RDC-CAR continues to support and undertake efforts in consulting local and
national stakeholders while soliciting legal inputs to strengthen the provisions of the draft bill.

The view from the grassroots


Instrumental on the passage of HB 4649 at the house committee level was the success of the
July 2015 region wide Public Hearingsled by the Ad Hoc Committee on Local Government,
created for this purpose.

The report by the ad hoc committee cites no objection and overwhelming support for the
passage of the proposed measure. Amidst the support, proposed amendments pertinent to the
draft organic act were still raised by the locals of the provinces.

Section 161, of Article XVI on the Transitory provisions was one of the most contested. This
section cites provinces that will not vote favorably on the organic act will revert to its mother
region prior to the establishment of CAR. Stakeholders who expressed censure on this provision
believed that this will be a source of fragmentation of the region once a plebiscite to ratify the
autonomy bill is undertaken.

The RDC noted the inputs in the public hearings as possible consideration to amend the
autonomy bill.

A birds eye view: Inputs from National Stakeholders

Despite the hope of staunch Cordillera autonomy advocates that the Aquino Administration will
address the Cordillera clamor for regional autonomy, support from the national government was
hardly ever attained. The Bangsamoro Basic Law,on the other hand despite not certified as an
urgent bill, obtained the backing of some of the countrys legal luminaries.

The RDC-CAR on March 31, 2016 convened a Round Table Discussion on Cordillera Regional
Autonomy at UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City to consult and obtain the position of National
Government Agencies especially on their experience dealing with the layers of bureaucracy in
Muslim Mindanao.

There was no actual devolution of powers that happened in ARMM, and the only aspect devolved
was the personnel, said Atty. Benedicto Bacani from the Institute for Autonomy and Governance.
Bacani offered caveats from the ARMM experience that the Cordillera should watch out for and
should be resolved in the bill. An example of this is the failed adoption and implementation of its
Regional Local Government Code.

Despite obtaining a 100% support from all participants from the NGAs present DBM, DENR,
KWF, NCCA, OP, DTI, NHA, DepEd, CHED, among others experts advised that the current
Cordillera autonomy bill will most likely not pass Congress if refiled as is.

Critical provisions pointed out were Article XVI on the Transitory provisions and the Article III on
the Regional Autonomous Government and its relationship with the Regional Line Agencies.
Detailed proposed amendments contained in position papers presented in the discussion and
forwarded to the RDC-CAR were extracted and scrutinized.

A conference on the State of Autonomy and Decentralization in the Philippines was


subsequently sponsored by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance and the Konrad Adenauer
Stiftung. This international forum prompted the RDC-CAR to further strengthen the advocacy for
regional autonomy with variegated program/projects along IEC, capability enhancement, and
alliance building.
The IPRA Law and the autonomy bill

Inputs on HB 4649 vav RA 8371

During the RTD on Cordi autonomy, former Commissioner of the Constitutional Commission that
drafted the 1987 Philippine Constitution,Prof. Ponciano Bennagen, said that if the Cordillera
wants to be autonomous, the reason should not only be for development.

Hence, the RDC-CAR on April 29, 2016 convened 12lawyers / legal counsels and advisers both
from government and non-government organizations NCIP, Tebtebba, RTC, DOJ, PAO, Dinteg,
and Autonomy Speakers Bureau for a workshop to reexamine the interfacing of the provisions
of the draft autonomy bill with Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.

Said activity reevaluated whether HB 4649 integrates the framework on indigenous peoples as
provided by the IPRA Lawempowering the indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural
communities in the region.

One deeply analyzed provision was Section 3 of Article I of HB 4649, which provides the
definition of who is a Cordilleran. Even during the region wide public hearings, this provision was
a constant concern with the Cordillera being 90 percent indigenous peoples.Likewise,
stakeholders continue to seek clarifications on sections of the bill that involve mention on the
rights of IPs under a regional autonomous government.

The workshop outputs will be considered as inputs in the review of the autonomy bill.

The RDC-CAR, through NEDA-CAR as its secretariat, continues to consolidate position papers and
inputs from both local and national level stakeholders to be presented in a technical working
session to further enhance the provisions of the draft autonomy bill.

by Mark Allen Ponciano, NEDA-SPCAR

RDC prioritizes municipality-based grassroots IEC

July 2016

To fully implement the project on grassroots or barangay IEC on autonomy, the Cordillera
Regional Development Council (CAR RDC) conducted a second meeting with the regions
municipal officials on July 26, 2016 at the Citylight Hotel, Baguio City.

The meeting aimed to establish and strengthen the RDCs partnership in the implementation of
grassroots or barangay IEC on regional autonomy through the municipal local government units
(MLGUs).

The findings of the 2015 Pulse Survey were utilized to identify specific CAR geographical areas
where more IEC activities should be conducted. Sixteen priority LGUs throughout the region were
identified: three municipalities of Abra (Bucay, Lagangilang, and San Juan), three municipalities
of Apayao (Conner, Kabugao, and Flora), three municipalities of Benguet (Itogon, Buguias, and
Kapangan), two municipalities of Ifugao (Alfonso Lista, andLamut), three municipalities of Kalinga
(Tabuk, Pinukpuk, and Rizal), and two municipalities of Mountain Province (Bauko, and Paracelis).
Last March, six municipalities such as Lagangilang, Kabugao, Itogon, Alfonso Lista, Tabuk, and
Pinukpuk participated in the meeting. This time, the meeting was organized with the other ten
remaining LGUs to brief them on the technical and administrative aspects of the project and for
possible partnership.

The meeting was also a venue to inform and update LGUs on the Social Preparation of CAR into
an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program and the experiences of partner LGUs on grassroots IEC.

LGU- La Trinidad, through Joel Cervantes and Lawrence Balud, shared the best practices of the
LGU on the conduct of grassroots IEC. Accordingly, the success of their IEC lies on the strong
support of their local chief executive (LCE) and the conduct of a trainors training among the
municipality- based resource persons who initiated IECs in the barangays. They also presented
sample modules which other LGUs can replicate.

Director Milagros Rimando encouraged the LCEs and their representatives to innovate a strategy
in the conduct of IEC in their municipalities.

Meanwhile, the RDC will be soliciting proposals from these LGUs for possible partnership in the
conduct of IECs in their respective localities.

Maridel Langbis, SPCAR

Expert proposes two- track approach for autonomy advocates

The Regional Development Council (RDC) CAR conducted a Regional Executive Forum on
Autonomy and Federalism at the Ating Tahanan, South Drive, Baguio City last July 20, 2016.

The activity was an opportunity to provide additional knowledge on autonomy and on federalism,
which is one of the agenda of the new administration, to the members of the Cordillera
Association of Regional Executives (CARE).

Atty. Benedicto Bacani, executive director of the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG),
shared his thoughts on governance in an autonomous and in a federal government, as well as
the experience of the ARMM. He emphasized that the question will be on the degree of autonomy
in a unitary system as we currently have, or autonomy in a federal system as advocated by the
Duterte administration.

He discussed that federalism may be of two kinds, symmetric federalism or asymmetric


federalism. He said that in a symmetric federalism, all states will have the same powers and
privileges in their relation to the federal government while in an asymmetric federalism, all
states will have the same constitutional status but one or more of the states will considerably
have more autonomy than the other sub- states.

He also reminded the Cordillerans not to repeat the failure of the ARMM. He said that there was a
problem on double autonomy between the autonomy of LGUs under the national government
and the autonomy of the regional government under the organic law because there was no
actual devolution of powers to the autonomous government.

As a final note, Bacani proposed a two- track approach for Cordillera autonomy advocates; the
first was to pass the organic law in Congress and plebiscite in the next three years to preserve
the constitutional autonomy status of the Cordillera. The second is to have a stronger and unified
position in the proposed charter change for the retention of the provisions mandating the
creation of autonomous regions in Mindanao and Cordillera

Advocacy material for autonomy strengthened

With the advocacy of the Duterte administration to shift to a federal form of government, the
Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) convened its IEC and AB partners to review and
enhance the modules in the advocacy for autonomy.

The Secretariat presented the SPCAR Roadmap, IEC Modules and the best practices of DSWD-
CAR and LGU- La Trinidad on their IEC on autonomy.

The advocates, with the aid of Engr. Ines Basaen, have provided their inputs in the SPCAR
Roadmap towards the establishment of a Cordillera Autonomous Region. Amongst them are
activities on the three program thrusts such as IEC, Alliance Building and Capability Building. For
other IEC collaterals, the participants commented on the autonomy jingle and proposed to
include Ilokanos in the lyrics as well as engage the participation of the private sector in
composing the jingle.

DSWD- CAR has also shared its best practices in integrating autonomy in the 4Ps Family
Development Session Module. The participants agreed that the FDS Module can be replicated,
laymanized and translated to local dialects. LGU- La Trinidad, on the other hand, emphasized that
the success of their IEC on autonomy lies on the support of their Local Chief Executive.

Atty. Benedicto Bacani, Executive Director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG),
proposed a two- track approach in the quest for autonomy. The first was to pass the organic law
in Congress and plebiscite in the next three years to preserve the constitutional autonomy status
of the Cordillera. The second is to have a stronger and unified position in the proposed charter
change for the retention of the provisions mandating the creation of autonomous regions in
Mindanao and Cordillera. He also said that there is a possibility for the existence of an
autonomous region within a federal state or the creation of a separate Cordillera federal state
depending on the strategy to be employed by the advocates.

To complement the statements of Atty. Bacani, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan emphasized
the timeline for the passage of the Cordillera Autonomy. He stressed that the autonomy bill and
the plebiscite should be passed by 2018 for the inclusion of the regional officials in the 2019
national and local elections.

The activity ended with a Cordillera dance clinic facilitated by Mr. Garry Dong-gayao of the
National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP- CAR)

Ambisyon Natin 2040 successfully launched in the Cordillera

nov-15_ambisyon-launching_collage

A total of 251 representatives from both public and government institutions participated in the
regional launching of AmBisyon Natin 2040 in the Cordillera Region.
Guided by the theme AmBisyon Mo, Misyon Nating Lahat, the activity was conducted on
November 15, 2016 at Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City, simultaneous with the national launching
held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. About one-third of the participants were
students, teachers and administrators of public and private secondary, tech-voc and college
schools in Baguio and Benguet. The rest were representatives of government agencies, civil
society and non-government organizations, and local broadcast, print and tv media outfits in
Baguio and the Province of Benguet. Distributed to each participant were Ambisyon Natin
handouts, bags made of Cordillera native cloth, and t-shirts printed with the Ambisyon logo.

The objective of the activity was to communicate to the public the AmBisyon Natin 2040 which is
the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and for the
country in the next 24 years. It portrays the standard of life that they want to have by 2040, and
aims to serve as an anchor for development planning and international development assistance
across at least four administrations.

The presentations of NEDA Director Milagros Rimando, Asst. Regional Director Jedidia Aquino, and
Chief EDS Dolores Molintas centered on the elements of the AmBisyon Natin, the survey result
highlights, and the ways by which the vision of a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay
may be achieved. Short video presentations were also shown in between the lectures.

The Ambisyon Natin 2040 was the result of a national survey which determined that the Filipinos
desire a life that is matatag, maginhawa, at panatag. They envision a Philippines where all
citizens are free from hunger and poverty, have equal opportunities, and are enabled by a fair
and just society that is governed with order and unity.

During the Open Forum, some participants raised concerns such as the sustainability of efforts to
implement the plan considering that it covers four presidential terms. Everyone however agreed
that it was about time the country had a long-term vision articulated by the people themselves.
They were also one in saying that in order to attain this dream of having a better future for the
country and every Filipino, everybody should work together and not depend solely on the
government. Ms. Imelda Sedano from the Office of Baguio City Congressman Mark Go aptly put
it when she said, We can change our destiny by making the right choices.

Other Ambisyon activities planned in the region include a technical session with the Regional
Statistics Committee in December 5, a dissemination forum for the academic sector in December
15 in the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College in Bontoc, Mountain Province, and a forum
for the RDC members in January next year.

(24 November 2016)

RDC-CAR endorses a new and enhanced Cordillera autonomy bill

The RDC members, during the Fourth Quarter Full Council meeting on November 21, 2016 at the
Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in La Trinidad, Benguet. (Inset: Former DENR-CAR Director
Clarence Baguilat)

The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) recently approved for endorsement to
the CAR Congressmen anew draft House Bill (HB) for an Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.
The draft bill was presented by former DENR-CAR Director Clarence L. Baguilat, member of the
Technical Working Group for the drafting of the Regional Autonomy bill, during the RDC Full
Council meeting on November 22, 2016 at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in La Trinidad,
Benguet.

Important documents such as the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission (CRCC) Bill, the
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and HB 4649 were used as references. In addition, inputs to the
new draft HB were the comments and suggestions given during the regionwide public
consultations and hearing on HB 4649, including the meeting with the Office of Senator Pimentel,
in 2015; and the Roundtable Discussion, Legal Analysis Workshop, and the Regional
Stakeholders Conference conducted in 2016.

Among the highlights of the new autonomy bill are the adoption of the name Autonomous Region
of the Cordillera (ARC) to distinguish it from the current CAR as an administrative region (Article
1, Sec. 1 Name and Purpose), and changing the term communities to ICCs and IPs (Article
III, Sec. 12 Respect for Indigenous Peoples Rights).

The proposed autonomy bill, reported Director Baguilat, has 19 articles and 184 sections. Eighty-
five percent of this (or 147 sections) was retained or reworded from HB 4649. The article on
Revenues and Fiscal Matters was adopted in full. Ten percent (or 18 sections) was
adopted/reworded, with Article XI XIII based on the CRCC Bill. Nine percent (or 16 sections)
was adopted from the BBL, and 1 percent was adopted from the 1987 Constitution. Two sections
were new provisions introduced by the TWG.

Baguio City Mayor Domogan lauded the TWG for coming up with what he said was a much
improved bill on autonomy for the Cordillera Region. He however recommended the revision of
the draft bills definition of the Cordilleran, and the inclusion of a section defining the national
government functions that will be devolved to the Autonomous Region. The body, agreeing to
these suggestions, approved the endorsement of the draft bill as revised, to the Cordillera
Congressmen for their consideration.

NEDA-CAR, as the RDC and TWG Secretariat, is set to convene soonest the TWG to discuss the
revisions as suggested by the RDC. The revised bill shall then be endorsed to the Cordillera
Congressmen during an Advisory Committee meeting tentatively scheduled in January next year.

(November 24, 2016)

CAR officials gain another autonomy champ

OPAPP Sec. Jesus Dureza (seated 5th from left) in a lighter mood after the meeting with CAR and
other OPAPP officials

The officials of the Cordillera Region gained another autonomy champion in the person of
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza in a meeting convened by the Cordillera Regional
Development Council (RDC-CAR) with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process
(OPAPP) in Manila last November 28, 2016.

The small-group meeting aimed to seek the support of the Secretary for the regions aspiration
for autonomous governance. This was attended by OPAPP officials and some CAR congressmen,
governors, mayors and officers of line agencies.
In his opening statement, the Secretary readily said that the proposed Cordillera organic act
could be simultaneously filed together with the Bangsamoro which is planned to be filed in July,
next year.

RDC Vice-chair and NEDA Dir. Milagros Rimando said that a new draft House Bill is currently
being finalized by the RDC Technical Working Group which incorporated suggestions from CAR
congressmen, inputs from various consultations, and analysis from the review of the 1988
Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission proposed charter, Bangsamoro Basic Law, among
others.

The CAR officials also presented the resolutions of the RDC-CAR and the regions six Sanggunian
Panlalawigans expressing support to the national governments move toward federalism and
seeking support to Cordillera autonomy.

While critical issues were surfaced, there was an affirmation to continuously engage in the
autonomy advocacy alongside plans for a federal government set-up and the Bangsamoro
autonomy.

To this, the Secretary advised that CAR should go for autonomy and end up with Federalism. He
advised that all officials should come up with a collective decision, I will personally champion it,
he added.

CAR officials seized the opportunity to present other regional concerns such as the PAMANA
program and the BIBAK lot issue.

Another meeting of CAR officials is set soon to identify the regions options, strategies and
actions in the autonomy advocacy.