By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — According to the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), the region is not yet ready for an autonomous set-up especially that traditional politicians are the ones pushing for it.
In an interview, CPA Chairperson Windel Bolinget said the Cordillera will never benefit from a “bogus autonomy”.
He said the 3rd Organic Act being pushed by the government is not recognizing the rights of the people to self-determination. He emphasized that the said organic act will just fulfill the personal interests of the traditional politicians pushing for it and will not serve the Cordillerans.
Bolinget said the region has many problems that should be addressed before it could establish a genuine autonomous region. These problems would include injustices and national oppression.
He added that the millions of pesos allocated for the education and information campaign for autonomy should instead be used for social services.
He pointed out that majority of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera have long been denied basic government services while their lands and resources are offered to multinational companies and foreign investors.
CPA, the first group to campaign for a Cordillera autonomous region asserts that the genuine autonomy could only be attained if the right to self-determination is recognized.
According to Bolinget, the recognition of the IP’s right to self determination would correct the injustices and oppression perpetrated against them. He also said, a genuine regional autonomy should embody the process and principles for self-governance and full control by the people of their land and resources.
“These two components ensure the material base of autonomy and the political power to exercise self-governance,” he stressed.
Bolinget said government should learn from the rejection of the people to the 1st and 2nd Organic Act.
Furthermore, he said, aspirations for regional autonomy should not be timebound. Given the present situation of the society, Bolinget said regional autonomy as the political expression of self-determination is a long term goal and can not be achieved in a government set up where corrupt and traditional politicians hold power.
IPs of Mountain Province in recently concluded consultation on the proposed organic act expressed fear of devolution in all aspects and functions of the society in the region.
The Mountain Province folk are worried that there is no assurance that after the 10 years of being subsidized by the national government the region would be able to raise funds on its own.
They also fear additional taxes as a logical source of income for the autonomous government.
Moreover, they also said that the mode of sharing of the subsidy from the national government should be properly discussed on the 3rd organic act. # nordis.net