Championing Autonomy – Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza and Cordillera leaders (top-left) made the request last January to file a Senate counterpart of the Cordillera organic act. Since then, national support for Cordillera Autonomy Towards Federalism has increased with PCOO Asec. Marie Banaag (top-right), PLLO Usec. Ryan Estevez (bottom-right), as well as members of the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Constitution (bottom-left).

Baguio City – Cordillera local leaders and elders will meet with members of the upper house on August 10, 2018 to gain support and fast-track the legislation to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC). Filed as Senate Bill 1678 by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri last February, the Organic Act establishing the ARC is a counterpart of House Bill 5343 filed by all six Cordillera representatives last 2017. Both bills are currently in their respective Committees on Local Government.

The meeting is organized by OPAPP, the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) in coordination with the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR). It seeks to inform the Senators of the unity of the Cordilleran people in their quest for self-determination, communicate to them the pressing need for autonomy in the region, and receive their support as Cordillera autonomy champions.

The Cordillera has continued the struggle for regional autonomy since the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in 1987. CAR was established to transition the region towards an autonomous regional government. After 31 years of pursuing regional autonomy and self-determination, the RDC and NEDA-CAR continue to assert that Cordillera autonomy is the key to just and lasting peace and sustainable development in the region. (by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR)