Policymakers – Mark Go (bottom right) and Allan Jesse Mangaoang (bottom right) make their case for Cordillera autonomy in their respective districts.

Baguio City – Cordillera lawmakers Allan Jesse Mangaoang and Mark Go urged the Cordillera public to provide support and recommendations on the Cordillera Organic Act, House Bill 5343, or “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera” during Cordillera Unity Gong festivities.

In the July 10 Kalinga leg of the Unity Gong Relay, Kalinga and Mountain Province Caretaker Congressman Allan Jesse Mangaoang said, “In 2006, the RDC adopted autonomy as the guiding theme of Cordillera development. That is why we are here today, to unite all provinces and cities to drumbeat for autonomy symbolized in the Unity Gong. He continued, “House Bill 5343 was signed by all Cordillera representatives as a show of commitment to regional autonomy.”

Cong. Mangaoang also led the public consultation on House Bill 5343 in Mountain Province last July 12, 2018. Representatives from the public and private sectors of Mountain Province gathered in Bontoc to provide comments and support for the Cordillera Organic Act. It is the second of the public consultations on the House Bill. Local leaders voiced their support for the bill citing its provisions on additional development budget and improved control of natural resources.

Meanwhile in the Baguio leg of the Unity Gong Relay, Cong. Mark Go urged not only his constituents but all Cordillerans to support the bill and provide suggestions to help improve it. He noted, “It will bring government closer to the people…we can better monitor our public officials with an autonomous government, your government leaders will not have the convenient excuse of blaming the national government for failed programs.” He added that there will be more accountability among public servants in an autonomous government.

The Cordillera Unity Gong symbolizes the unity of the Cordillera towards achieving the goal of regional autonomy. The gong is passed from province to province every July since 2012 in a week-long celebration of the creation of Cordillera Administrative Region towards an autonomous region. (by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR)