BAGUIO CITY – The NEDA-CAR Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (NEDA-SPCAR) gathered autonomy advocates on August 6 and 7 for a two-day workshop on strategies to effectively campaign for the passage of the Cordillera autonomy bill in the 18th Congress. Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Asec. Orville Ballitoc presented various tips and techniques on campaigning for legislation.

Asec. Ballitoc, a Cordilleran from Ifugao, has helped the Cordillera in various activities in 2018 to advocate for the passage of House Bill 5343 in the 17th Congress. “Timing is very important”, he said. Ballitoc then stressed that the next 14-15 months of the 18th Congress are very crucial for legislation given the tenure of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and learning from the autonomy advocacy experience in the last two years.

The RDC-approved communication plan and roadmap for achieving Cordillera Autonomy lists the Cordillera Congressmen as the primary champions of the bill. RDC Vice-Chair and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando noted that there is a lot of work to be done especially in raising awareness and support for Cordillera autonomy, both in the grassroots and the national level.

Participants strategized and prioritized various tasks and activities for the coming 15 months. These include the training and retraining of Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) speakers both new and old, the amplified use of social media, and increased participation and engagement of provincial LGU leaders, among others. The autonomy advocates were also identified to champion the Cordillera regional autonomy pursuit. They will continue to build upon the progress of the past two years with planned engagements with the grassroots, local and national legislators and through social media. This is in support of the current RDC advocacy programs. NEDA-SPCAR reported that over 10,000 stakeholders have been reached for the first six months of the year.