#OneCordillera – Cordillera Autonomy advocates gather for a plenary session to tackle proposed amendments to House Bills 5687 and 7778 as recommendations for the drafting of a new substitute bill for the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.

On May 11, Cordillera Autonomy advocates met for a plenary session to discuss issues raised from the two meetings of the House Committee on Local Government-Technical Working Group (TWG) for House Bill 5687 and House Bill 7778. Said TWG is chaired by Cong. Mark Go of Baguio City and co-chaired by Cong. Maximo Dalog, Jr. of Mt. Province. Inputs from advocates were generated for the TWG to consider in the drafting of a substitute bill.

NEDA-CAR OIC-Regional Director Stephanie Christiansen expressed gratitude and recognized the significant contributions of autonomy partners and their help in the legislative process throughout the decades-long pursuit of the establishment of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera. Christiansen said, “While we witness differences in positions, we stand united that all these point to our desire for the upholding of the Cordillera identity, the crafting of responsive policies for a historically, geographically, and culturally unique region, and progress for all where no one is left behind.”

Congressmen Go and Dalog set out to review the proposed amendments consolidated by the Social Preparation of CAR in an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) program from the group of advocates. Positions and statements of support were also articulated during the meetings of the TWG and Autonomy partners. Go expressed his intent to finalize the substitute bill and submit it to the Committee on Local Government for approval and subsequent presentation to the Committee on Appropriations. Go also underscored the commitment from other members of Congress and that of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office to support the passage of the proposed organic act. As earlier pronounced by Congressman Go, the TWG aims to have the proposed organic act approved before the end of the 18th Congress.

NEDA-CAR through the SPCAR program spearheads information, education and communication (IEC) activities, and continues to provide platforms for discussions on Cordillera autonomy by different stakeholders aimed at supporting legislators in the drafting of an acceptable organic act for the establishment of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.