The Regional Development Council Executive Committee endorsed on January 23, 2020 the NEDA-led Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program Project list and work plan for 2020 to the RDC en Banc.

SPCAR technical working group, composed of DILG, DBM, and the private sector, met last January 10 to prepare the SPCAR project list and work plan. Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) on the Cordillera autonomy pursuit remains the priority. The grassroots and youth sector in the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province are set for intensified information dissemination activities. NEDA-CAR together with its partners in the local government and civil society sector will implement projects in these provinces.

In line with this, NEDA-CAR recognizes the need to update program partners and autonomy advocates on the new salient features of the proposed Organic Act as well as share ways to better communicate the autonomy message.

Concurrently, strengthening alliances and partnerships among legislators and national officials is a priority. NEDA-CAR is working with its central office through NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia, the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) and the CAR Congressmen to gather support at the national level.

The first step was made when NEDA-CAR Regional Director and RDC-CAR Vice-Chair Milagros Rimando and PLLO Assistant Secretary Orville Ballitoc joined RDC-CAR Chair and Abra Governor Joy Bernos to make the region’s case for Cordillera autonomy to be included in the common legislative agenda of the Legislative Economic and Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) of the President.

The creation of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera is based on Article X, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. It is granted in recognition of Cordillera’s unique culture and geography which led to historic and developmental differences with the rest of the country. The RDC-CAR spearheads the renewed pursuit of Cordillera autonomy as a way to fast track development and attain just and lasting peace in the region.