By Dexter See/Manila Bulletin

The newly installed Regional Peace and Order Council chairman said that sustained efforts to maintain the peace and order will be the key factor in helping achieve the quest for regional autonomy which is now gaining support from the grassroots level.

Ifugao Governor Eugene Balitang, who took over the chairmanship from Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan recently, said that he would focus on the vision of the RPOC to achieve peace and order in the different parts of the region to sustain its image as one of the most peaceful regions in the country. Balitang said that when the people can show that the region is peaceful and orderly, this would show the rest of the Filipinos including the peace keeping force of the nation, line agencies and national offices that the region is ready for the regional autonomy being pushed and spearheaded by the Regional Development Council (RDC), the region’s policy-making body.

“Being a peaceful region would give a good signal to the President that we are indeed all set to be a Cordillera Autonomous Region pursuant to the mandate of the 1987 Constitution that provides for the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera,” he said.He said that hesitations for supporting the autonomous status of the Cordillera could be affected by the violence being experienced in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Read more at  Manila Bulletin, September 22, 2011