Baguio City – The clamor for a Cordillera autonomous region is now an election issue and is the main topic during the Capitol Christian Leader’s (CCL) forum on Regional Autonomy and Development held on March 10, 2016 at Citylight Hotel, Baguio City.

Peter Dumaguing, CCL member and Autonomy IEC Speaker, briefly discussed the salient features of HB 4649, the five guiding principles, and the key core messages of autonomy, and its history.

Emphasized in the forum was the legal basis of the region’s bid for self-governance as provided for in the 1987 Constitution which states that there shall be an autonomous region in the Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Hence, the views and stand of the candidates revolved on autonomy and development issues affecting the City.

A total of 24 Baguio City candidates for various elective positions participated. Amongst the candidates present were: Engr. Bernardo Vergara, Engr. Rudy Aspilan and Mr. Marquez Gofor the congressional post;Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Retired Judge EdilbertoClaravall, Engr. Guillermo Hernandez and Atty. Jose Molintasfor mayor; and Atty. Betty Lourdes Tabanda for the Vice Mayor. Sixteen (16) of forty six (46) candidates running for the City council were also present namely, StanfordAng, Edgar Avila, ErdolfoBalajadia, FerdieBayasen, Benny Bomogao, Villamor Bumanglag, Vladimir Cayabas, John Glenn Gaerlan, Jonathan Vergara, Benjamin Macadangdang, Connie Tongawan, Federico Mandapat, Marlene De Castro, Eric Ueda, Grace Mayos and Gueliro Sugano.

Most of the candidates have expressed their support for the establishment of autonomous region but also proposed the conduct of massive information campaign and consultations at the barangay level.

Other questions from the audience cover matters relating to infrastructure such as roads, traffic and garbage problem, and environment.

This activity was initiated by the CCL with support from the Regional Development Council (RDC) thru its Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program.

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Maridel P. Langbis, SPCAR