Autonomy allies – The growing populations of youth sector and their inclination to social media and makes them very influential in the autonomy advocacy. It is repeatedly affirmed that they play an important role in securing the future of Cordillera.

BAGUIO –  The National Economic and Development Authority – CAR, led by its Regional Director and RDC Vice-chair Milagros Rimando met with Goshenland CEO Atty. Alex Bangsoy, and representatives from several regional line agencies such as the DSWD, DepEd, CHED, DA, National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and the Outstanding Students of CAR (OSCAR) last May 4 to explore various ways in engaging the youth sector in the autonomy advocacy.

This was in direct response to the points raised by Atty. Bangsoy during the public consultation on the proposed Cordillera organic act for Baguio and Benguet last April 19. Bangsoy noted in the consultation that the youth were underrepresented. He said, jokingly, “Ako yata pinakabata dito eh (I may be the youngest one here)”.

Among the three core messages of autonomy, which are Enhanced Cordillera Identity, Responsive Policies for the Region and Progress for All, it was pointed out that the message of identity is the one that resonates most with the Cordillera youth. Robert Domoguen of DA-CAR noted that the youth are hungry for identity and that the duty of continuing Cordillera culture falls to them. To secure the region’s identity as Cordilleran, it was agreed that the youth sector should not only be made aware of autonomy but also be actively engaged in the discussion.

Engaging the youth energizes the movement” said Dir. Rimando. The participants recognized that the concept of regional autonomy has been dominated by elders and veterans of the autonomy struggle since the 70s.

The enthusiastic discussion from the participants quickly led to action-planning for strategies in engaging the youth. It was also agreed that increasing social media presence and ground-level engagement with youth groups should be prioritized.

An agreement was made that the National Youth Commission would have a larger role in engaging the youth in the autonomy advocacy. Along with OSCAR member Paul Nuval, they have committed to prepare the design of a youth conference which will serve as the basis for further engagements with the youth.

Subsequent meetings of the core group are expected to iron out the preparations for the youth conference. Atty. Bangsoy was recognizes as the group’s adviser which he readily accepted.



by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR