(from left to right) The regional champions and relentless workers of Cordillera autonomy: CPBRD Dir. Gen. Romulo Miral, Jr., IAG Exec. Dir. Atty. Benedicto Bacani, OPAPP Usec. Atty. Nabil Tan, OPAPP Sec. Jesus Dureza, RDC Chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, and RDC Vice-chair Dir. Milagros Rimando

Quezon City, Metro Manila, January 17, 2018 – The First Congressional Forum on Cordillera Autonomy culminated in gaining strong support to the Cordillera Autonomy from national leaders, some congressmen and other allies.

Around 179 participants composed of some congressmen, congressional staff, CAR leaders and officials, and CSOs were present during the forum and were actively raising clarificatory questions and sharing their insights.

A representative from the Committee on Indigenous Peoples clarified if the powers of the NCIP such as issuing certificate of ancestral domain titles and ancestral land titles be devolved to the autonomous government. Mayor Domogan responded that some of these will be devolved mainly considering the peculiarities in the region.

Another concern raised is on the possibility of reversing the current IRA share of the LGUs which is 40 percent. Director General Romulo Miral, Jr., said the IRA share of local governments is not equitable because the national government collects all the taxes and redistribute it to the areas regardless of the development status of the area. He added that local sources should be explored by granting them more power to tax.

In addition, Mayor Domogan said that what is doable right now is to reverse the IRA sharing from 40 percent to 60 percent, and devolve the national government functions which can be better performed by the local government.

Said forum served as a venue to clarify some provisions in the house bill, and to express their strong support to the Cordillera autonomy advocacy as well.

The First Congressional Forum on Autonomy was organized by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Cordillera National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) together with the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) and the Congressional Policy Budget Research Department (CPBRD).

 

By Gigi G. Estanoco, NEDA- SPCAR