BAGUIO CITY – Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan in a press conference on September 1, Thursday at the Baguio Convention Center, said there are pending issues that need to be addressed pertaining to the region’s claim for autonomy and the shift to a federal form of government.
Domogan, in the presence of Presidential Communication Office (PCO) Assistant Secretaries (ASecs) Mon Cualoping (for Strategic Communication) and Ana Marie Banaag (for Legal Affairs) and Baguio Representative Marquez Go, explained that the inclusion of the Cordillera Region to the proposed Northern Luzon Federal State will result in the inequitable sharing of the resources of the federal state because of the smaller population and land area of the Cordillera Region.
Domogan said autonomy advocates in the region support the Abueva (Dr. Jose Abueva) federal government version because it recognizes the Constitutional Provision mandating the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.
“We should not give up the renewed pursuit for regional autonomy because our inclusion in the Northern Luzon Federal State will result in the neglect of the region in terms of development except when there will be laws that will be passed that will equalize the status of small and big regions in terms of their share from the available resources of the federal states,” Domogan said.
In the same press conference, Representative Go said that in a recent meeting with the members of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (CRDC), Ifugao Representative Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. agreed to refile the autonomy bill but other lawmakers from the region proposed the conduct of more consultations in order to get more inputs on what should be included in the autonomy bill.
“A number of lawmakers support the proposal of former Senator Nene Pimentel and a ‘speakers bureau’ has been organized to pursue the information, education and communication (IEC) campaign on federalism in the different parts of the country prior to the passage of the law that will allow the shift of the current presidential form to the proposed federal form of government,” Go said.
On August 19, former Senate President Pimentel, Jr., an advocate for federalism, was in Baguio City to speak about the Federal Form of Government.
Pimentel explained that while it is true that there are 11 federal states in their proposal, the number of federal states could be increased in recognition of the constitutional provision that recognizes the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao, thus, the two regions will be treated as independent federal states in recognition of the contributions of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Lumads to the overall development of the country./PNA/LAP/JOJO LAMARIA