BAGUIO CITY – Heated debates and passionate discussions were concluded through a resolution from the delegates of the Indigenous Peoples’ Legislative Assembly – Cordillera Administrative Region (IPLA-CAR) on December 8, 2018 in Baguio City. The delegates approved Resolution no. 2 Series of 2018 entitled: “A Resolution Adopting and Endorsing the Outputs of the Indigenous Peoples Regional Legislative Assembly to the Members of the House of Representative and the Senate for their Consideration”.
The resolution and its proposed amendments were handed to Congressman Mark Go of Baguio City who committed to consider the amendments by submitting the document to the technical working group on HB 5343 of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Local Government hearing.
Led by OPAPP, NCIP and UNDP in coordination with NEDA-CAR, the IPLA-CAR is an initiative of the OPAPP Indigenous Peoples’ Peace Panel (OPAPP-IPPP)as the Cordillera counterpart of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Legislative Assembly (MIPLA) where IPs of ARMM provided inputs in the BOL. The delegates were confident that their amendments will add value to the proposed organic act and secure rights for both IP and non-IP Cordillerans. Atty. Evelyn Dunuan called on the media to help in the proper information & education campaign of the third attempt at Cordillera autonomy. “Help us in reaching out to as many people as possible”, she added. Dunuan concluded her message by saying, “Whatever we are doing here today will not just benefit us – our families and communities – but the generations in the Cordillera to come”.
Jefferd Zambrano, the Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Brgy. Puguis, proposed to revise of Section 4 of HB 5343 which defines the Cordilleran. The proposed amendment retained the that a Cordilleran is one who is domiciled in the region but added that indigenous peoples “shall have the freedom to retain their distinct indigenous and ethnic identity in addition to their Cordilleran identity”.
Labio Calingayan, an IPMR of Loakan, Baguio City, expressed his desire to spread awareness of the advocacy. He recognized that people need to be aware and the grassroots level is key in gaining support for the organic act. He emphasized that autonomy will bring much-needed representation and development for the Cordillerans. NEDA-CAR continues to work with stakeholders in different sectors and prioritizes the grassroots to raise awareness of Cordilleran autonomy. This is in direct response to the past two plebiscites where failure to get the ‘yes’ vote in both cases were attributed to the lack of proper information dissemination.