BAGUIO CITY – House Majority Leader Ferdinand G. Romualdez affirmed his commitment and support to the Cordillera’s quest for self-determination during the 34th Sipat Anniversary Commemoration on September 13, 2020, organized by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as its secretariat.

The First District Representative of Leyte underscored that Cordillera is ready for the full transition to regional autonomy as shown by the unity of the Cordillera people during the pandemic, and the cultures and traditions of the Cordillerans that are effective in fostering safe and peaceful communities. Further, he expressed his support in the Cordillera’s yearning for justice, identity and representation, and the fight for the protection of ancestral domain, culture, and practices.

“I hope to sit down with all the District Representatives [of Cordillera] very soon, so we can map out the most effective option to pursue sustainable development in your region with the principle of self-determination as our guide”, said Cong. Romualdez.

It can be recalled that during the 33rd Cordillera Administrative Region Founding Anniversary in July 15, House Committee on Local Government chair Noel Villanueva expressed his support to the autonomy advocacy of the region saying that the passage of an enabling law creating the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera is needed to further autonomy of local government units.

The forging of the Sipat or peace pact on September 13, 1986, in Mount Data Hotel, Bauko, Mountain Province led to the establishment of the Cordillera Administrative Region through EO 220 issued by then-President Corazon C. Aquino. One of the priority agreements during the Sipat is the establishment of regional autonomy in the Cordillera. After 34 years, Cordillera autonomy is still an unfulfilled commitment.

The 34th Sipat Anniversary Commemoration aimed to remind the regional and national government officials of the commitment and essence of the Sipat which is the establishment of regional autonomy in the Cordillera.

The RDC, as requested by the CAR Congressmen, requested to have a dialogue with President Duterte on the 3rd or 4th week of September to seek his support on House and Senate Bills establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera and the amendment of the EO 30 to include all the Cordillera Congressmen as members of the RDC.