BAGUIO CITY – The Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) led by Secretary Adelino Sitoy and Asec. Orville Ballitoc visited Baguio City on October 8 in preparation for the “Multi-Stakeholder Gathering on Autonomy towards Federalism/ Charter Change” organized by the PLLO and NEDA-CAR to be conducted on November 8, 2019 in Baguio City.

“This event on November 8 is very big as we have gotten the commitment of all the CAR Congressmen to attend”, said Asec. Ballitoc. He reminded NEDA-CAR that in 2017, the President said that he will honor all previously signed agreements between Philippine government and the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army. In July of 2017, various Cordilleran leaders met with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss the concerns of the region, primarily Cordillera autonomy.

Secretary Sitoy said he plans to help the Cordillerans visit the President again in a similar event. The Cordillera is special and as such, should be a separate state, Sitoy said. The Secretary added that this is also the aspiration of the committee that drafted the Bayanihan Federalism Constitution commissioned by President Duterte.

The Regional Development Council maintains that Cordillera autonomy supports the principle of decentralization which is at the core of the federalism movement of the current administration. Sitoy shared that while we wait for the federalism or charter change, “our task now is the formulation of a law establishing Cordillera autonomy”.

NEDA-CAR Regional Director and Regional Development Council Vice-Chair Milagros Rimando thanked Secretary Sitoy and his office for helping Cordillera autonomy. Ballitoc added that the CAR Congressmen plan to file the Cordillera autonomy bill on October 28 along with Senator Zubiri’s filing of its counterpart in the Senate soon after.

The November 8 gathering aims to solicit the support of not only Cordillerans and their leaders but also gain national allies that would champion the Cordillera autonomy agenda.