Autonomy towards federalism – Autonomy advocate Briccio Domondon urges the barangay officials from Tabuk to help in the Cordillera autonomy advocacy and secure a permanent regional identity for the Cordillera.

BAGUIO CITY – The push to inform the grassroots sector of Cordillera grows with each information, education, and communication of the Regional Development Council (RDC) Cordillera and NEDA-CAR. RDC Autonomy IEC Speakers’ Bureau members Briccio Domondon, DBM-CAR Chief Budget Specialist Mayna Caymo, and Tabuk City Population Officer John Leyaley presented to Tabuk barangay officials the key concepts of Cordillera autonomy during the training-workshop on Barangay budgeting process and RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act last November 8 in Baguio City.

Leyaley noted that the administration’s push for federalism is in line with Cordilleran autonomy. However, we must achieve autonomy first towards federalism to secure that Cordillerans will be represented, regardless of what form of federalism will be achieved. “When it comes to voting, our regional population is outnumbered by a single province like Pangasinan”, he added.

The autonomy advocates emphasized that through autonomy, Cordillerans will have a permanent regional identity distinct from other regions in the north. Apart from that, it was also remarked that, “we will create policies that are specific to Cordillerans, that is autonomy” Domondon said. Mayna Caymo then added that the proposed act establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC) provides additional budget for the region to fast-track its development to catch up with other regions.

It was recalled that the past two plebiscites failed to achieve autonomy because of lack of proper information dissemination. This renewed pursuit of Cordillera autonomy addressing this issue and focuses on raising awareness among Cordillerans. The RDC and NEDA adopted Cordillera autonomy and the overarching theme of the regional development plan in 2006.