101. with due respect to the official voters of Ifugao, what now obtains presently is an anomalous situation in the state of Cordillera autonomy.”
102. Right from the start of the Initiative and after the plebiscite, there was “in truth and in fact no unanimity among Cordillerans as to the concept, substance, and operationalization of regional autonomy.”
103. Yes, there were public hearings and consultations among grassroot communities in the Cordillera conducted by the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission.
104. But major decisions on the “concept, content and substance” of Cordillera autonomy were generally made in Manila.
105. At the forefront of the decision-making process in the movement for Cordillera autonomy were big business and politicians with interests to protect in the region.
106. Political decisions to conduct the plebiscite were made in haste for political expediency without giving the maximum opportunities for the Cordillera communities to freely ventilate the views on the autonomy issue. The overall result was that the salient issues of autonomy were not properly addressed.
THE CORDILLERA PEOPLE’S RATIONALE FOR THE POLITICAL STRUGGLE IN THE REGION
Autonomy is not the be-all and end-all. It is but a means towards a higher end. This higher end is self-determination for all the indigenous people, for all the various groups and cultural communities who have their ancestral roots in the entire Cordillera Region.
The life of the struggle for genuine autonomy comes from the wisdom of their indigenous culture and traditions. This premise is based on their strong practice of direct democracy and their strong tradition of self-governance.
The goal orientation of all Cordillerans is the recovery and the recognition of state and society of their ancestral domain since this is the bedrock of their material and non-material civilization, the source and spring of their ethnic integrity and identity.
Most, if not all, Cordillerans have a shared history of minoritization, and underdevelopment, due to the complex process of colonialism and centralization.
107. Given all these abnormal and awkward situations we only have to remind ourselves of the basic premises and issues which the Cordillera people has considered as the rationale for all past and present political struggle in this region.
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111. Aside from these premises, there are major issues that should be addressed towards meaningful discussions of Cordillera autonomy.