BANGUED, ABRA – NEDA-CAR in partnership with the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government gathered college and senior high school students of Bangued for a one-day forum on Cordillera autonomy and infographics workshop on October 22. Philip Tingonong, CCAGG Chairman and Cordillera autonomy advocate, discussed the legal basis for the region’s pursuit of autonomy and Abra’s historic role in the pursuit. Michael Paredes of the Divine World College later shared the basics and tips on creating infographics.

Tingonong, also a private sector representative of the Regional Development Council Cordillera (RDC-CAR), clarified that the failure of the past two attempts at Cordillera autonomy was due to a lack of information dissemination. He emphasized that proper information dissemination is key in helping people decide and that the RDC is focused on educating Cordillerans on regional autonomy.

“Infographics is more about the information and less about the graphics”, said Paredes, who lectures at the Divine World College on Information Technology. Paredes emphasized the importance of combatting misinformation in the age of the internet. The students created infographics with the theme of Cordillera autonomy, pertaining to its history, core concepts, and salient features. They learned to transform the knowledge they acquired during the discussion into visual graphics. It was both an exercise on how much they understood the topic and on how well they can communicate them.

The students also participated in a mock plebiscite where 54% of the participants voted in favor of autonomy. One of the students discussed Cordillera autonomy as they understood it and said, “regional autonomy makes it easier to spread socio-economic development especially to the poorer sectors and marginalized people in the community”. Bangued is a priority municipality of the Regional Development Council for information, education and communication. This is based on the 2017 Pulse survey on Cordillera autonomy which shows that awareness on the advocacy in the municipality is low.

The NEDA-CAR engages partners in both the private and government sector to raise awareness and gain support for cordillera autonomy. The youth sector is one of the top priorities for information, education, and communication based on the priorities under the RDC Cordillera Autonomy Communication Plan 2019-2022.