Raising awareness –  RDC intensifies autonomy advocacy through IECs to address the causes of the previous failed plebiscites, namely, misinformation and lack of information.

BAGUIO & BENGUET — The raising of awareness of Cordillera autonomy through the Information, Education, Communication (IEC) thrust of the RDC autonomy advocacy program remains as the top priority. With the national support for Cordillera autonomy gaining ground, more and more regional stakeholders need to be made aware of this third attempt at Autonomy for the Cordillera region.

Last August 16 and 17 local government officials from Benguet, Baguio and Mountain Province gathered in Baguio to learn more about Cordillera autonomy and gain the necessary skills to become effective speakers. These officials were trained as IEC speakers to further enhance the reach of the advocacy.

Later, the NEDA-CAR, in partnership with the provincial government of Benguet gathered SK members for a youth forum on Cordillera Autonomy on August 22. As a priority sector for information dissemination, the youth leaders provided fresh insights that can enhance the advocacy. They are seen as Organic act and key influencers in raising awareness of the advocacy.

Moreover, in Kapangan, Benguet, 120 stakeholders from the grassroots sector gathered to learn more about Cordillera autonomy last August 28. Joel Cervantes of the RDC autonomy IEC speakers’ bureau discussed the core messages of Cordillera autonomy.

Back in Baguio, CHED hosted the regional education summit on August 31 in which IEC speakers’ bureau member and RDC PSR Emerita Fuerte discussed the culture-sensitive education provided in the proposed Organic Act. She urged an estimated 300 participants to contribute in raising the awareness and support for the advocacy.

The grassroots and youth sectors are priorities of the Social Preparation of the Cordillera Administrative Region into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) program as targets for raised awareness. Subsequently, these sectors are key partners in helping gain support throughout the region. The SPCAR program aims to gain more autonomy advocates from these sectors to better reach the Cordillera stakeholders.

These events continue amid a strong push at the national level. Recently, NEDA-CAR has partnered with the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), the Institute for Autonomous and Governance (IAG) and various other institutions and individuals who have helped raise national support for the attainment of regional autonomy in the Cordillera.

The SPCAR program, implemented through NEDA-CAR is a program of the RDC-CAR to spearhead the advocacy for the attainment of regional autonomy through  information dissemination, national and local alliance building, and regional capability building. (marlo t. lubguban, NEDA-SPCAR)