Around 130 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel from the Ifugao Police Provincial Office (IPPO) and Ifugao Municipal Police Stations (MPS) attended the autonomy Information, Education and Communication (IEC) forum held at the Camp Joaquin, Lagawe, Ifugao on March 7, 2019.

IEC Speakers Mr. William Mamanglo and Ms. Rosemarie Lindawan shared the basic concepts, roadmap, history, the three core messages and salient features of Cordillera regional autonomy. It was reiterated that the defense and security of the autonomous region shall be the responsibility of the national government in consultation with the regional government.

Mamanglo also emphasized that as nationally-paid employees, the current benefits and salary received by the personnel of the Philippine National Police as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other National Law Enforcement Agencies shall not be diminished with the establishment of an autonomous region. This also applies to regional offices of National Line Agencies (NLAs) such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Health (DOH).

It is a common misconception gathered during IEC activities that the regional autonomous government will stop receiving support from the national government and will only rely on its own revenues. This was the same reason that contributed to the non-ratification of Cordillera autonomy in the 1998 plebiscite when most government employees such as teachers voted “no” due to misinformation on the uncertainty of the source of their salaries, the sufficiency of funds for the delivery of public services and the imposition of taxes on livestock, among others.

The present autonomy information drives spearheaded by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) and the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) with its partners emphasize that the regional autonomous government shall receive subsidy over and above the IRA from the national government.

In her closing message, SPO3 Marjorie Dunuan said, “I hope nga sitau nga (that we) participants, we could already be effective [as] mouthpiece of the government at the grassroots level.” She further expressed that they will be able to confidently answer queries related to regional autonomy during their house-to-house visitations, community dialogues and information dissemination activities. Police officers may also be tapped in distributing IEC information materials such as brochures to barangay residents.

With the assistance and facilitation of the Police Regional Office – Cordillera (PRO-Cor), the police offices of Ifugao, Kalinga, Abra and Baguio City responded to the 2019 Call for Project Proposals in the conduct of autonomy information drives. They will continue to conduct autonomy IEC activities this year in partnership with the RDC-CAR.