Major development issues/concerns

Plan of Action/Recommendations

Continuing pursuit of Cordillera Autonomy

  • Studies indicate 65% of the people are either misinformed or unaware of the constitutional provision and development benefits of being an autonomous region, leading to the rejection of the two Organic Act.

  • Since 2006 when the RDC decided to renew pursuit of regional autonomy as an overarching theme of its development. For this purpose, the RDC evolved itself to assume the social preparation of the Cordillera for Autonomy and has gotten National Government policy and budgetary support (P15M in GAA 2007, P18M in 2008, and P15M in 2010).

  • RDC-CAR carried outs its social preparation works under three-pronged Strategy:

a) IEC to better inform and deepen the understanding of people on the autonomy issue and to gather inputs and feedback for RDC study and action, including suggestions to the possible drafting of a third Organic Act;

b) Capability-building to develop and strengthen the capacities of the RDC and its partners in the RLAs, LGUs, SUCs, private sector to assume the functions and responsibilities embodied in the 8-plus to-be devolved areas of regional autonomous governance per Section 20, Article 10 of the Constitution; and to to mainstream to-be-devolved functions and responsibilities per Section 20, Article 10 in CAR RLAs, LGUs and RDC private sector partners as appropriately practicable.

c) Continuing engagement with Malacanang, Congress and Central Offices to progressively decentralize from NGAs to CAR RLAs and LGUs in preparation for regional autonomy devolution; and ensure continuing policy and budgetary support for social preparation.

  • More vigorous, intensified, deepened and expanded IEC down to the grassroots level and to initiate mass-based public consultations towards drafting/crafting of an Organic Act that will be acceptable to the Cordillerans. Timeframe for the Plebiscite of a new Organic Act would be 3-5 years.

  • Continue increasing budgetary support for succeeding years.

Widespread Underdevelopment of CAR

  • Poverty incidence in CAR remains high at 34.5 percent of the population falling below poverty line. It is highest in Luzon, compared with Ilocos having poverty incidence of 32.7, Cagayan Valley with 25.5 and Central Luzon with 20.7. The provinces of Apayao and Abra belong to the poorest 10 provinces in the country in 2006.

  • CAR still remains a low priority in national government operations. Government Consumption Expenditure (GCE) between 2000 and 2008 indicates that CAR had the lowest GCE share among North Luzon regions with an average share of 2.1 percent (comparable to CARAGA) during the period compared to 3.8 percent for Ilocos, 2.9 percent for Cagayan, and 6.2 percent for Central Luzon. ARMM had a slightly bigger share at 2.2 percent for the same period.

  • With the exclusion of Baguio and Benguet, the CAR provinces rely heavily on national government subsidy as their main source of revenue. Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, and Mt. Province are more or less 95 percent dependent on IRA
  • Pursue the regional advocacy of securing more financial resources for CAR to serve as development start-up capital.

  • Lobby for a higher share in national wealth tax.

  • Recognize the region’s extremely rugged topography, dispersed settlements patterns, dominantly IP population as a factor in national budgetary support inorder to deliver public goods and services.

Continuing struggle of the IPs in securing their land tenure

  • Slow implementation of the IPRA

  • The implementation of the IPRA is very slow. Its passage more than a decade ago raised expectations which to this day remain to be the same. The IRR is not yet finalized leading to the slow implementation of the law.

  • Through the ADB-assisted CHARM Project, a significant assistance was given to NCIP to enhance its delivery mechanisms.

  • Intensify CADT/CALT processing and issuance. This includes the immediate implementation of agreements among concerned agencies to facilitate the issuance of CADTs and CALTs. This also involves the immediate issuance of the implementing guidelines of Section 12 of the IPRA.

  • Affirmative action for IPs in CAR through a package of policy implementation mechanisms on self-governance and development, promotion of peace, social justice and protection of IP human rights.

Alarming rate of deterioration of the region’s watersheds

  • The region’s role as the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon is at risk as watershed degradation and forest conversion is increasing rapidly. Forest cover has shrunk to 33 percent with uncontrolled logging, forest fires, and kaingin.

  • The conversion of forest lands into agriculture and settlements has also resulted to the pollution of the rivers.

  • Implement a “mini-marshall plan” for the restoration / rehabilitation of the region’s watersheds.

  • Review the natural resources management framework and policies

  • Intensify and expand government interventions such as the water quality monitoring of the Chico River, Upland Development Program, forestline boundary delineation, and integrated watershed management planning of priority watersheds and major river basins

Low level of rural industrialization

  • The manufacturing sector which is mainly composed of the PEZA firms is the biggest contributor to CAR’s economy. The PEZA exports represent 98 percent of the CAR’s exports. This makes the regional economy very volatile as it is mainly concentrated in PEZA.

  • To improve the region’s economic structure and make it less volatile to world economic forces, there is a need to address the low level of rural industrialization. This disparity between the economic sectors is reflected in labor productivity wherein agricultural workers have an annual per capita production of P16,600 while manufacturing workers have a per capita production of P569,000. The low level of agricultural labor productivity is one of the reasons for the prevalence of rural proverty .


  • Hasten rural industrialization through:

  • Appropriate modernization of CAR agriculture

  • Revival of high- value organic produce

  • Strengthening of the micro, small and medium enterprises

  • Promotion of investments in the rural areas

Peace and Development Issues

  • Insurgency – The region remains infested with six Guerilla Fronts, affecting 44 barangays. This remains to be a threat even with 5 Internal Security Operations in the region.

  • Tribal Conflicts

  • Emerging cultural conflicts


  • OPAPP to continue with the Local Social Integration Committees in provinces affected. The agency should also continue providing cash and livelihood assistance to the returnees.

  • Implement anti-poverty programs

Slow pace in the physical integration of CAR

  • When the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was created in 1987, the region had the worst road network in the entire country. Of the 8,240 kilometers of national roads, only 125 kilometers (1.5%) were paved.

  • CAR had no regional road backbone to speak of, as one had to go outside the region and pass through Regions I, II and III to reach the northern CAR provinces. Our roads then were either connected to the West or Ilocos region or to the East or Cagayan Valley.

  • In 1992, the RDC conceptualized the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project (CRIP) as the economic backbone and lifeline of the region. It is the flagship infrastructure project of CAR, and it aims to integrate the region by directly connecting CAR provinces with each other through a North-South trunkline and provide lateral roads between Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and CAR. CRIP has 31 road sections: 5 making up the CAR trunkline, 9 laterals to Regions I and II, and 17 other strategic roads.

  • In a span of 23 years, only 5 of the 31 road sections of the CRIP have been completed (i.e., rehabilitated/ improved and paved) while 5 are on-going.

  • Now, the trunkline starting from Rosario town extending Northward is about to reach Tabuk, Kalinga. Of the lateral roads completed are Naguilian Road, Baguio-Aritao Road and Marcos Highway, while Mankayan-Cervantes is on-going.

  • At present, 44.7 percent of the 482.49 kilometers of the trunkline and 77.3 percent of the 402.359 kilometers of lateral roads are paved.

  • The 47 percent paved national roads in CAR is way below the national average of 75 percent and the 90 percent of our neighbor, Region I. Two municipalities (Pasil and Tinglayan in Kalinga) and 214 barangays in the region are not yet connected to the main road network.

  • Given the slow pace of implementation of the regional road network with only 32.8 percent developed in CAR, it would take around 40 years to complete the CRIP.

  • Program funding (ODA and local) for priority gaps in the CRIP:

    • Trunkline:

> Tabuk-Conner-Kabugao

> Kabugao-Calanasan-Claveria

    • Lateral Roads:

> Lubuagan-Bangued-Narvacan (Abra-Kalinga Road)

> Kabugao-Calanasan-Solsona-Laoag

> Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna-Abulog

  • Prepare FS for Bontoc-Barlig-Paracelis-Roxas and other strategic roads

  • Develop and improve alternative transport systems in CAR like upgrading of the Baguio Airport, cable car/ trolley bus systems for Baguio-La Trinidad, agricultural tramlines, and water-based transport systems.

NOTE: This is part of a set of documents submitted to the Presidential Management Staff