By by Estanislao Albano, Jr./ Notes from the North

For me, autonomy is just a telltale sign that we are unequal with the rest of the Filipino nation. It is like a crutch which proclaims to the world that one is lame and could not run in a race with the majority. The right response to discrimination is not to fight for special treatment  but to prove to all and sundry that one could compete with the majority. Asking for special treatment is in itself an admission of the inferiority and oddness that the majority is tagging you with and which offends you no end.

As a half-Ilocano, I am also fearful that in an autonomous set up, the pendulum would swing to the other end with the alleged victim of discrimination becoming the discriminator (if there is such a word). With all this stress on indigenous culture and heritage being made by the people who are fighting for autonomy, what is the guarantee that reverse discrimination will not occur in the new set up? I suspect that this fear is one of the factors which contributed to the defeat of the autonomy in Baguio City during the two plebiscites. Talking about Baguio City, could you imagine a  Cordillera Autonomous Region sans the city?  It would be like a being without the core or heart. I have a gut feel that because of the concerns of Baguio City’s non-indigenous population, that’s exactly what the autonomous region would look like if ever it does materialize. Even if the foremost never say die advocate of autonomy is the city’s three-term congressman.

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