Santo Tomas, Baguio City – Around 350 participants attended the IEC on Autonomy towards Federalism last November 24, 2018. Among them were students, parents, and teachers of Santo Tomas National High School. The activity aimed to increase the awareness among the youth and further engage them in the autonomy advocacy. The youth is one of the identified priority sectors based on the SPCAR Communication Plan 2018-2019.

Mr. Joel Cervantes, member of the Autonomy IEC Speakers Bureau, discussed the historical background and basic concepts of the region’s pursuit for autonomy. He reiterated that the Cordillera Administrative Region was created through Executive Order 220 which aims to administer the affairs of the government in the region, accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the region, and to prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras. Thus, with Cordillera regional autonomy established, the Cordillera Administrative Region will cease to exist. An enhanced Cordillera identity, responsive policies and progress for all are among the fruits of Cordillera autonomy, he added.

A mock election was done to gauge how the participants would vote if a plebiscite was to be held and 98 percent among the students voted for Yes.

The activity was an initiative of the Santo Tomas National High School through the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC – CAR). The National Economic and Development Authority as the secretariat of RDC – CAR encourages the youth to be engaged in the autonomy advocacy of the region. NEDA-CAR through RDC-CAR will continue to conduct IECs among the youth and the other sectors to raise their awareness on autonomy. (by Gigi G. Estanoco, NEDA-SPCAR)