Consultation – Members of the ConCom answered queries from Cordillera officials and elders about the proposed draft for a Federal Constitution which will be submitted to President Duterte early July before his SONA.

BAGUIO CITY –  The Constitutional Commission to review the 1987 Constitution (ConCom) held a public consultation with Cordillerans last June 26. The Cordillera people were given a chance to learn more about the administration’s steps towards federalism and how the Cordillera region fits in the plan.

ARMM Commissioner Prof. Eddie Alih explained that in the proposed federal constitution, the Bangsamoro and the Cordillera will have more fiscal autonomy than other regions. Both will receive more share from the national budget and have more flexibility in implementing development plans compared to the current set-up. This will put the two regions at par with other regions.

He said, “these two regions are asymmetric in nature as an answer to historical injustices”. Prof. Alih referred to the history of the two regions who have suffered policy discrimination and stagnation in development due to cultural and geographical differences.

Baguio Commissioner Dr. Virgilio Bautista clarified that much of the provisions of House Bill 5343, the proposed Cordillera organic act, have been integrated in the draft constitution. RDC Chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan reminded the participants that the ConCom is recommendatory in nature and that Cordillerans must continue to campaign for autonomy towards federalism.

The event was led by the Presidential Management Staff in CAR and co-coordinated by NEDA-CAR as the secretariat of the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR). NEDA and the RDC continue to raise awareness and gain support for Cordillera autonomy in the regional and national level through IECs, alliance building and capability building projects. (by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR)