Liza Agoot
Baguio Midland Courier, 1/18/2009

“Only when the real intent of autonomy will be implemented can autonomy be good.”

This was how Dr. Nagasura Madale, a cultural anthropologist who was among the 58-man commission who drafted the organic act in Mindanao, describes autonomy.

He said that while funds are already allocated in Mindanao, if the leaders in Mindanao will not lobby for their release, these will not be received by the people. He said that this system continues to affect the development in Mindanao.

“It is so difficult because there is no difference with other areas where lobbying still has to be done to be able to get the funds needed to develop Mindanao despite the amount already allocated,” Madale said.

He said that when they drafted the organic act, it reflected what the people clamored for in Mindanao. However, aside from not being able to finish the organic act due to the limited time given to the commission, what they accomplished was again revised by Congress before its approval. He added that many provisions were changed which did not reflect what Mindanao wanted.

He also said that while it was true that the commission was identified as the group who will assist in the creation of the organic act, they became useless when the draft went to Congress because they were not allowed to participate.

“They have internal rules which prevent our participation. This was one reason why a number of provisions were changed which did not reflect the people’s sentiments,” Madale said.

He said autonomy is good if it can be assured that the intention for its passage, which the drafter of the organic act will come up with, will really be carried by Congress which will pass the act.

According to Madale, the draft created by the commission for the Mindanao organic act was changed, which could also happen in the Cordillera.

In the information campaign on Cordillera autonomy being conducted by the Regional Development Council through the National Economic Development Authority, it states that the organic act will be drafted taking into account the sentiment of the public. However, never was there any person who was invited to discuss about the experience in Mindanao.

The revelation of Madale about the lobbying for the release of funds was also never mentioned in the campaign for Cordillera autonomy.

Madale reiterated that autonomy is good but it has to be made sure that the intent for its creation be carried up to the implementation and not merely up to the draft.