Manabo, Abra – The Cordillera Regional Development Coucnil (RDC-CAR) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Manabo, Abra (LGU-Manabo) conducted an information, education, and communication (IEC) campaign on Cordillera Autonomy towards Federalism last November 22, 2018 at the Manabo Sports Pavilion. Aimed at raising awareness on the Cordillera autonomy at the grassroots, the activity was attended by around 600 participants from barangay Ayyeng and Luzong, and other nearby barangays.

Mr. Vladimir D. Cayabas, member of the Autonomy IEC Speakers Bureau, expounded on the reasons why we need autonomy in the Cordillera focusing on Article X, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution which mandates the creation of the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras. He further explained that once autonomous, we can create policies that are responsive to the needs of our region. It is to be noted that there are many national policies that are not fit to our region because of geographical and cultural reasons. An example of a national policy that marginalizes CAR at present is the Roxas Law which sets 45:1 student-classroom ratio. Such policy can be corrected with CAR autonomy in place.

Mr. Cayabas also reiterated that the region supports the government’s federalism advocacy, however, it is best and practical that we pursue autonomy first towards federalism since Cordillera autonomy is already mandated in the 1987 constitution.

A mock plebiscite was held after the IEC and 100 percent of the participants voted for Yes.

The LGU-Manabo already conducted Cordillera autonomy IEC in 7 barangays and will continue on for the remaining 4 barangays until December.

The National Economic and Development Authority – Cordillera Administrative Region (NEDA-CAR) as the secretariat of RDC-CAR will continue to conduct grassroots IEC among the identified priority LGUs based on the SPCAR Communication Plan 2018-2019. (by Gigi G. Estanoco, NEDA-SPCAR)