One Cordillera – Baguio City officials participate in a forum on the regional advocacy of Cordillera autonomy towards federalism led by the Baguio City LGU and NEDA-CAR.

BAGUIO CITY – Over 300 Barangay officials from districts 1 to 10 of Baguio City gathered last October 29 at Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City for a whole-day forum on the key features of Cordillera autonomy and the salient features of the proposed Cordillera organic act, House Bill 5343 or “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC)”. The event was co-organized by the Baguio City LGU and NEDA-CAR.

Baguio City Mayor and Regional Development Council (RDC) Chairman Mauricio Domogan addressed the officials and inspired them to work towards Cordillera autonomy as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

The Mayor added that the current administration’s move towards federalism is aligned with Cordillera autonomy. He noted that Cordillera autonomy towards federalism is the best strategy to ensure that Cordillera will maintain their unique and rich regional identity.

Autonomy advocates Brgy. Captain Ignacio Gallente, Briccio Domondon, and Atty. Tomas Kiwang later expanded on the Mayor’s discussion and presented the key points of Cordillera autonomy. Attorney Kiwang, who worked on drafting the proposed organic act, said that the work on the advocacy should be intensified to reach more Cordillerans especially those at the grassroots.

Later, officials signed a statement of support to urge the administration to certify the proposed Cordillera Organic act as an urgent bill.

Baguio City voted against autonomy in the past two plebiscites to ratify the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera. This failure of the plebiscites in 1990 and 1998 were attributed to lack of a proper information dissemination and rampant misinformation campaign not just in Baguio but throughout the region.

The RDC adopted Cordillera autonomy as the overarching theme of the regional development plan. Today, the RDC-CAR, through its secretariat, NEDA-CAR continues to inform the public on the renewed pursuit for autonomy that is focused on providing sustainable development for the region.