Domiciled – Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Jefferd Zambrano of Brgy. Puguis, La Trinidad addresses his fellow IPMRs and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights advocates from Baguio and Benguet and emphasizes that Cordillera is for IPs and non-IPs. He echoes that the definition of “Cordilleran” in the proposed Organic act is one who is domiciled in the region.

BAGUIO CITY – Last November 7, the OPAPP and NCIP-CAR in coordination with NEDA-CAR, and the UNDP held a provincial legislative assembly among Baguio and Benguet Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Baguio City. This is part of a region-wide consultation among Cordilleran IPs to provide inputs and suggestions in the proposed Cordillera organic act which is being deliberated currently in the local government committees of both Houses of Congress.

After a series of provincial consultations, a regional assembly will be held in Baguio on December. Inputs from all provincial consultations will be presented during the regional assembly. It has been recalled that the same process was undertaken before the BOL was passed in which the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Indigenous-Peoples Peace Panel (OPAPP-IPPP) gathered inputs from the Bangsamoro IPs.

OPAPP-IPPP is based in Davao and led by former NCIP chair Atty. Reuben Dasay Lingating. They have helped the Bangsamoro IPs include several amendments to the BOL before it was made into law last July. Now, their team has turned their focus to the IPs of the Cordillera. IPPP is working with the Regional Development Council (RDC), through its members, NEDA-CAR and NCIP-CAR to ensure the involvement of IPs in the legislative process.

OPAPP under the leadership of Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza continued to advocate for Cordillera autonomy alongside the Bangsamoro. Dureza helped gain national support for the advocacy through various events and meetings. Particularly, he requested Senator Migs Zubiri to file the Senate counterpart of the bill “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera”.