OPAPP Sec. Jesus Dureza (right) with OPAPP Usec. Atty. Nabil Tan (second from left), RDC Chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan (third from left), RDC Vice-chair and NEDA-CAR Dir. Milagros Rimando (fourth from left) and IAG Exec. Dir. Atty. Benedicto Bacani (left) share a moment of delight after the news of Sen. Zubiri’s acceptance to file the Senate counterpart of House Bill 5343 An Act to Establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera”. (Photo courtesy of Institute for Autonomy and Governance)

January 17, 2018 – Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri accepts the request of the Cordillera leaders to file the Senate counterpart of the House Bill 5343 “An Act to Establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera”. His acceptance was made during the First Congressional Forum on Autonomy held in Batasan, Quezon City.  Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza made the request in behalf of the leaders through a personal call.

Speaking before the members and staff of Congress, Secretary Dureza called on the Cordillera congressmen to be the frontliners in making sure that the Cordillera Autonomy Bill or House Bill 5343 will be passed. He said that Cordi autonomy is a victory that should not be postponed anymore.

He added that the demonstrated unity of the Cordillera leaders continuously inspires them to push forward the aspirations of the Cordillera people. He recognized the relentless work on autonomy by the RDC through NEDA-CAR with the leadership of Dir. Milagros Rimando. Director Rimando reported the autonomy advocacy work of the RDC with its various partners at the local and national level.

RDC Chair and Mayor Mauricio Domogan who shared the historical context of the region’s aspiration for self-determination underscored the cultural uniqueness of the region because of its history. This was also supported by Atty. Benny Bacani who emphasized that the distinct identity and autonomy of the Cordillera is vested as constitutional rights.

Dir. Gen. Romulo Miral, Jr. talked about financing the autonomous region, and the challenge of generating more from local revenue sources rather than appealing for more share in the total national income.

The forum was jointly organized by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) with the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) through its Executive Director, Atty. Benny Bacani and the Office of Dir. Gen. Emmanuel Miral, Jr. of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD).