“Closure agreement does not end the pursuit for regional autonomy” – Sec. Deles

GAMU, Isabela – “Closure agreement does not end the pursuit for regional autonomy.”

Secretary Teresita Q. Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) stressed this when asked about the status of the pursuit for regional autonomy following the successful completion of the military integration component of the government- Cordillera People’s Liberation Army-Cordillera Bodong Administration (CPLA-CBA) memorandum of agreement, at the 5ID Headquarters at Upi, Gamu, Isabela on November 9.

“The closure agreement does not end the ‘Sipat’ or our peace processes, or end the pursuit for regional autonomy because the Constitution states that there will be two autonomous regions, the ARMM and CAR. There was a plebiscite to which all the Filipinos in this country have agreed overwhelmingly. If we want to amend the Constitution then all of the Filipinos must be involved.” said Deles.

Deles further stressed that the closure agreement between CPLA and the government is a confidence- building measure to prove that CAR is self able to steward the land and the people, enrich culture and sustain for socio-economic development. She iterated how peace is a significant building block of progress and development.

It can be recalled that on September 13, 1986, then President Corazon C Aquino CPLA head Fr. Conrado Balweg signed the Mt. Data Peace Accord signifying the parties’ commitment to a cessation of hostilities. This resulted to the provision in the 1987 Constitution of the creation of autonomous region in the Cordilleras along with Muslim Mindanao, and the issuance of Executive Order 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region of which one of its purposes is to prepare the region for an autonomous setup.

On July 4, 2011, the government and the CBA-CPLA signed the MOA “Towards the Final Disposition of Arms and Forces of the CBA-CPLA and its Transformation into a Potent Socio-economic Unarmed Force”. Also referred to as the closure agreement, among its components are final disposition of arms and forces, and economic reintegration of CPLA members.

Regional Peace and Order Council Chairperson , Ifugao Governor Denis Habawel, who also witnessed the signing of successful completion of the military integration component, said that the peace accord had helped a lot for the pursuit for regional autonomy.

“This peace accord is not the answer of our needs and wants. This is just a stepping stone to achieve a stable framework and structure of how we would manage our ancestral domains, our riches and mountains thru regional autonomy”, he stated.

Habawel enjoins every Cordilleran to support the continuing quest for regional autonomy being spearheaded by the Regional Development Council./JDP/GBB-PIA CAR


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