By Maureen Atonen and Audrey Beverlee Gorio

Baguio City:  Members of the regional Speakers Bureau (SB) on Regional Autonomy recently met to discuss expanding and strengthening the SBs of the region and the provinces and to have a common powerpoint presentation lasting 45 minutes on the average for a general audience.

The expansion is part of the RDC’s intensified campaign on regional autonomy where 63 percent of the 2013 P15 million autonomy fund was allotted for information, education and communication (IEC) campaign.  This is translated to fifteen IEC projects where services of the Speakers’ Bureaus will be expected.

In 2010, the RDC organized a Regional Speakers’ Bureau, which served as a pool of speakers on regional autonomy.  The provinces also formed their own speakers’ bureaus to respond to requests within their jusrictions.  Invitations by organizations or LGUs coursed through the NEDA secretariat were referred to appropriate speakers.

A background paper discussed during the meeting stated that in the early IEC campaign, the SB’s were guided by the principle of triggering discussions on regional autonomy and on the process should help the RDC grasp the people’s sentiment on the issue (regional autonomy).  In the second half of 2010, when the RDC formed a Third Autonomy Act Drafting Committee (TAADC), Baguio City mayor Mauricio Domogan came up with the five principles on regional autonomy which became the main trigger paper on autonomy IEC activities. 

When five Cordillera Congressmen authored House Bill (HB) 5595 in December 2011 and subsequently approved in February 2012 by the Committee on Local Government of the Lower House in Congress, the RDC shifted the focus of autonomy discussions on the HB.

The meeting also came up with the contention that members of SBs should primarily believe in Regional Autonomy and have the passion to work for it. 

Dr. Peter CosaIan, an RDC private sector representative said that in order to be successful in the autonomy IEC campaign, speakers should know the sectoral interests of his listeners and be able to connect regional autonomy to those interests.

“If you are talking to teachers you should start from an issue that is close to teachers”, he said.