Church and Youth – Prof. Greg Taag (Top left) and Mr. Francis Likigan (Lower left) from the RDC IEC speakers’ bureau in coordination with NEDA-CAR gathers church leaders and Sangguniang Kabataan officials from Benguet to inform them about the region’s continued pursuit for autonomy.

Mr. Francis Likigan and Prof. Greg Taag in partnership with NEDA-CAR through the Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) program gathered church leaders and Sangguniang Kabataan officials from the province of Benguet for an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) forum on Cordillera Autonomy held at Wangal, La Trinidad last May 31, 2021.

The activity aimed to educate the participants regarding the basic concepts and history of the region’s continuing pursuit for autonomy. Mr. Francis Likigan and Prof. Greg Taag, both members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) IEC speakers’ bureau, spoke on the history of the pursuit of autonomy and the three core messages of Cordillera autonomy: enhanced Cordilleran Identity, responsive policies for the region, and progress for all.

The participants suggested that there should be more IEC activities and speakers’ training conducted especially with the Church Leaders as they can have IECs within their respective congregations and they are already accustomed to speaking to a large number of audiences. Professor Taag stressed that each sector of the community including the youth and church are very important partners that contribute in the collaborative efforts in realizing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.

A mock plebiscite was conducted after the forum with 80 percent of the participants voting in favor of autonomy while 20 percent were still undecided.

The Regional Development Council adopted the pursuit of regional autonomy as the overarching theme for Cordillera development since 2006. Today, the RDC-CAR through the SPCAR program continues the pursuit for regional autonomy by raising awareness and gathering support for autonomy through its IECs, alliance building and capability building activities among Cordillerans.

By Bob Lyndon B. Daroya