BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan branded the proposed exclusion of Baguio City from the renewed pursuit of autonomy in the Cordillera as dangerous and would render the city as an orphaned local government.
The local chief executive claimed the argument that it is better for Baguio City to go back to Region I is again misplaced since the people will suffer transacting business with regional offices in San Fernando City, La Union and Dagupan City, Pangasinan.
“We are just making the situation difficult for our people in such case. We are lucky to be included as part and even the center of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with the establishment of most of the regional line agencies in the city making life easier for our people and our fellow Cordillerans, thus, we have to strive to be part of the Cordillera in an autonomous set up or in a federal state or an autonomous region with a federal state,” Domogan stressed.
Earlier, Rep. Mark Go, who even used the word ‘Igorotak’ as one of his campaign slogans, proposed that Baguio City should be excluded from the regional autonomy quest because the city is multi-cultural which is not suitable for the autonomous set-up.
However, Domogan claimed the development of the city reached its peak when it became part of CAR and most of the regional agencies were established in the city creating thousands of employment opportunities not only for Cordillerans but also for others from the lowlands coupled with the implementation of numerous development projects that came from the regional line agencies based in the city.
He explained the renewed quest for regional autonomy does not intend to discriminate members of other tribes who opted to reside in the city and other parts of the region because the term Cordilleran as defined in the new draft of the autonomy bill is inclusive, referring to indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples who are domiciled in the region, thus, there will be no discrimination in such case.
Domogan pointed out those who experienced transacting business with regional offices in Region I know how difficult it is compared to the existing situation that the regional line agencies are right in the city.
He called on Cordillera congressmen to get their acts together and refile the new draft of the autonomy bill to start the ball rolling and for everyone to be actively involved in the information and education campaign for the establishment of the autonomous region with a complete slate.
Autonomy advocates had time and again asserted that self-governance will help spur economic growth regionwide and will help move people out from the shackles of poverty because it will allow the regional government to have greater control of the region’s resources with lesser restraint from outside forces, thus, programs and projects will be in accordance with the prevailing situation in the region and not hostage to national priorities./By Dexter A. See#