The House Committee on Local Government (CLG) chaired by Congressman Noel Villanueva approved the substitute bill establishing the Cordillera Autonomous Region in its virtual meeting on August 24. The substitute bill reconciled HB 5687 filed by Cong. Joseph Bernos, Cong. Elias Bulut, Jr., Cong Mark Go, Cong. Solomon Chungalao, and Cong. Maximo Dalog, Jr. and HB 7778 filed by Cong. Eric Yap. 

Cong. Mark Go, chairman of the TWG created by the CLG, said that the substitute bill is a product of months of deliberation to ensure support of stakeholders. He also stressed that: “For over three decades, our region is operating under a transitory system of governance and we believe that the time is ripe for us to fulfill our goal of regional autonomy.We are hoping that even with the limited time left, we can go farther than we have done in recent years and actually submit this proposal to the people for ratification. Hence, the approval of this measure is earnestly sought”.

Various national agencies, Local Government Units (LGUs), and district representatives which includes the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the LGU Baguio City, expressed their support to the substitute bill.

Questions and suggestions on budgetary requirements, acceptability by the people of the bill, and nomenclature were raised during the meeting to which CAR Congressmen, Congressman Villanueva, and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Susan Sumbeling responded. The CAR Congressmen committed to considering the comments and suggestions before the substitute bill advances to the plenary. Eventually, the substitute bill was approved subject to amendments by the CLG. The substitute bill shall be forwarded to the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Ways and Means.