BAGUIO CITY – Cordillera congressmen are requesting the Regional Development Council to include them as members of the region’s policy making body.
Apayao Rep. Elias Bulut Jr. during the RDC Advisory Committee meeting at the House of Representatives in Quezon City last week said that members of Congress will be allies and partners of the line agencies particularly in the deliberation and passage of their proposed budgets. As members of the RDC, congressmen will have first hand information on the budget of each agency and can defend it during budget deliberations in Congress. They would also know the projects and programs of the RDC which could be harmonized with the programs in their respective legislative districts.
Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao said the RDC will have an anchor in Congress with their representatives as RDC members. It is very important to have a good and close working relationship with the various government agencies to ensure that the provinces would receive budget and ensure the needed development.
“We are happy to work together with you, the RDC, even as special members, for the best of our province and the Cordillera region as well,” Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog Jr. said during the meeting which also discussed the proposed 2020 budget of the Cordillera region.
For his part, Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang said that he hopes that they be given a chance to work with the RDC to ensure harmonious relationship among local chief executives, regional directors and the congressmen.
Mangaoang said that working with the RDC will also ensure that the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy will have a better chance of passing in the House of Representatives and will be realized and attained.
Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos and Baguio City Rep. Mark Go also echoed the sentiments of their fellow lawmakers to be members of the region’s policy making body to ensure development of their localities and the passage of the bill on creating the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
“We will be your lobbyists in pushing for Cordillera autonomy in Congress,” said Bernos. He added that he has laid several comments and suggestions to the RDC that should be included in the drafting of Cordillera Autonomy bill.
Go also backed the call of Bernos for time to review the bill on autonomy saying a submission of the draft to all representatives must be done first for them to review and consolidate proposals from sectors submitted to them.
Lawyer Jerry Marave, chief of staff of Benguet Cong. Nestor Fongwan, also cited that the proposed membership to the RDC is a welcome development that is seen to ensure budget and development for the region.
RDC-CAR vice chairperson and Regional Director Milagros Rimando welcomed the proposal of the Cordillera congressmen to be actively involved in the regular activities of the RDC as this will strengthen the working relationship of Cordillera leaders and the different line agencies.
Under Executive Order No. 325 which prescribes the guidelines in the operation of the RDCs in the different parts of the country, members of the House of Representatives are members of the Advisory Committee serving as the overall adviser of the body in the conduct of its activities and in the formulation of its programs and projects geared towards the overall development of the regions. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)