LUNA, APAYAO – The Provincial Local Government Unit of Apayao (PLGU-Apayao) with the assistance of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) conducted its first Municipal Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Speakers’ Training at the provincial capitol for officials coming from the PLGU and municipal LGUs of Conner, Flora, Kabugao, Luna, and Pudtol on March 7, 2019.

The training phase of the Grassroots IEC project aims to equip the participants with the set of skills and knowledge to become more effective IEC speakers in their respective municipalities and at the barangay level. It also intends to strengthen partnerships with different LGUs in hastening the spread of information on autonomy in the province.

Participants claimed that they were able to clear misconceptions, gain knowledge and refresh their memory on the Cordillera’s struggle for autonomy and its relevance. They also appreciated the RDC-CAR’s push for autonomy towards federalism.

Mr. Jayheart Tumbaga of the municipality of Luna said, “I had the impression yesterday that autonomy cannot coexist with federalism because I was not aware. But today, narealize ko [I realized] that autonomy is the best path to take towards federalism”.

Attendees actively participated and showed strong interest on the topics discussed by Autonomy IEC Speakers Mr. Laurence Bayongan and Mr. Geronimo Donaal. Mr. Bayongan remarked that the Apayao group is one of the best groups he had the opportunity to train.

Similar trainings were also conducted in Abra, Benguet, Baguio City, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province which are in the IEC phase of cascading their learnings at the grassroots level. The NEDA-CAR will continue to update and capacitate IEC speakers with the anticipated changes in the draft autonomy bill.

In the 1998 autonomy plebiscite, Apayao was the only province in CAR who voted “Yes”. The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) hopes to gain new partners in the province as it continues to increase awareness of Cordillera stakeholders on regional autonomy.