BAGUIO CITY: The victory of the Bangsamoro law in Congress will be “mirrored” in the Cor–dillera, Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan predicted.
Issues like power sharing and exploitation of natural resources that were crucial in the creation of the Bangsamoro, are Cordillera prime concerns too, Cosalan said.
The national government believes it wields exclusive power over natural resource use and exploitation, he explained.
Malacañang has advised Cor–dillera leaders and the regional development council to work harder to get President Benigno Aquino III’s support for a third bid for autonomy in the Cordillera.
Sec. Teresita Deles, chief of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), relayed this message in a meeting with an Regional Development Council (RDC) contingent led by RDC Vice-Chairperson Milagros Rimando of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Manila after the Holy Week.
Rimando said Deles said that “being a political exercise, the pursuit of regional autonomy should have widespread support of the region’s officials and civil society.
Malacañang also wants the RDC to go sectoral in its information and education campaign activities, specifically citing the church groups as an influential force in the effort.
Cosalan and other Cordillera congressmen attended the one-day regional autonomy summit here Wednesday. He said important issues in the Cordillera quest for autonomy might just be watered down and in the end might cause its rejection in the third attempt.
Such issues, Cosalan added, must be studied carefully in the third attempt.
This, aside from the seeming cold shoulder of Malacañang over the third bid for Cordillera autonomy. “They President wants to see us united in this.”
The solon admitted that no pre-summit consultation was conducted in Benguet, his province, unlike the other five provinces of the highland region. “Our consensus with Gov. Nestor Fongwan was that the bill to be filed will be returned back to the people for consultation, a reverse from that of the other provinces. Such poses a problem though on time element on the legislative grind,” Rep. Cosalan said.
Baguio City mayor Mauricio Domogan said the bill must be done by the end of this year and filed in 2015 and must be passed in Congress by that time, so that the plebiscite on this will be included in the 2016 polls. “If not, it will be in 2019 again.”
The most practical thing to do is make Cordillera a regular region, Cosalan said, and not bidding time to institute such a gargantuan task amidst these woes.