Mr. Gary Pekas discusses the salient points on autonomy advocacy

SAGADA, MT. PROVINCE –Local leaders, elders and residents from the 19 barangays of Sagada and some high school students flocked to the Municipal Hall for a gag-gag-ay or socialization for Cordillera Regional Autonomy on November 17, 2017.

Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative Jaime Dugao shared that the activity aims to apprise the participants on regional autonomy and its status. He emphasized the role of the elders who are considered an institution in the decision-making process in the community especially on matters such as land disputes, rituals, amicable settlements and other misunderstandings among neighbors at the ili level.

Mayor James Pooten, Jr. welcomed the participants and acknowledged the efforts of those who spearheaded the event and the support of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) – CAR. The event was also graced by the OPAPP Consultant Thomas Killip who shared how autonomy is practiced in Sagada through time even before the coming of the Spaniards.

Mr. Gary Pekas, member of the RDC-CAR’s Autonomy IEC Speakers’ Bureau, presented the history of the region’s struggle for self-determination and autonomy, three autonomy core messages, roadmap in achieving autonomy towards federalism and the salient features of the House Bill 5343, which seeks to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordilleras.

A commitment of support from the participants to champion the advocacy in their respective barangays or ili was generated.

The activity forms part of the Grassroots IEC project under the Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) which aims to increase awareness on regional autonomy at the barangay level. The SPCAR is being implemented by the RDC and NEDA since 2007 in partnership with LGUs, RLAs, CSOs and other stakeholders (by Maverick Lumbag Alalag, NEDA- SPCAR).