Champion of autonomy – Senator Miguel Zubiri as he presides over a hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on the same day SB 1678 was referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government. (Photo courtesy of Senator Miguel Zubiri Facebook Page)

MANILA – True to his promise, Senator Miguel Zubiri filed the Senate version of House Bill 5343, as Senate Bill 1678. The bill was filed February 1 and was subject to first reading last February 5.

In his explanatory note, Senator Zubiri said, “through regional autonomy, underdevelopment and poverty in the Cordillera can be more effectively addressed”.

Senator Zubiri made his promise during a phone call with Sec. Jesus Dureza who requested the Senator to sponsor the bill in the Senate in behalf of the Cordillera leaders and autonomy advocates. The call was made possible during the Congressional forum on Cordillera Autonomy and Federalism last January 17.

The Cordillera people have clamored for regional autonomy for over thirty years. Executive Order 220 signed by then President Cory Aquino in 1987 created the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). The executive order provided a singular region for the provinces of the Cordillera mountain range and its peoples, and serves as a transitory government towards the establishment of an autonomous Cordillera government. (Marlo T. Lubguban and Jared Jeric B. dela Cruz NEDA- SPCAR)