July 1, 2012 in Cordillera
By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The Regional Development Council-Cordillera Administrative Region (RDC-CAR) is seeking an audience with President Benigno Aquino III (PNOY) to talk about the region’s bid for autonomy as PNoy remains silent on the matter and did not even mention anything during his visit here last June 25.
Aquino was here to witness the mass oath taking of 300 new members of the Liberal Party (LP) on June 25.
RDC Co-Chair Virgilio Baustista said during the Weekly Kapihan last June 27 that the RDC through the help of the Cordillera representatives is requesting a meeting with PNoy to explain to him the reason behind region’s bid for autonomy.
“We will not ask the President’s commitment, we will just present to him the reasons behind our pursuit for autonomy,” he reiterated.
Bautista added that they are also requesting that the region’s autonomy be prioritized by the Aquino administration. He added that the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was created through an EO signed by the late President Corazon Aquino as a transition government towards an autonomous region. “We hope that it will see its end in President Aquino’s (PNoy) term,” he added.
Benguet Representative Ronald Cosalan, an LP member and open critic of the 3rd Organic Act filed in congress, said the autonomy bid is not among the present administration’s priorities. He, however, said that the information and education campaign (IEC) is continuing in the province of Benguet.
“I am not a signatory to the Third Organic Act filed in congress because I still do not know what my people want. I must consult them and know their sentiments for proper representation. Whatever the result be in the bid for autonomy, the people’s will must prevail,” he reiterated.
Cosalan also reiterated that he will file a resolution in congress for the creation of a separate region should there be provinces that will not opt for autonomy.
Ifugao Representative Teodoro B. Baguilat Jr., the designated LP regional coordinator, said PNoy is still studying the proposed Cordillera autonomy. He added that maybe PNoy wants to see a clearer and more united stand of the Cordillera people on autonomy. He further said that PNoy will support the decision of Cordillera people.
The Ifugao solon expressed strong sentiments about the scenario where not all six provinces would go for autonomy. “It loses the Cordillera. Could you imagine a Cordillera Autonomous Region without Ifugao, Benguet or Baguio or any other province? It will not be Cordillera if some of the provinces will not be included,” he said.
Baguilat pointed out that the stand of political leaders is not enough saying that the sentiments of the grassroots that include the farmers, fisher folk, tricycle drivers are also important. “The IEC should be brought down to the grassroots to let them see whether it (autonomy) would help their lives,” he added.
He added that a provincial survey should be conducted to know the peoples perception.
RDC Secretary Florida Faculo of the National Economic Development Authority-Cordillera Administrative Region (NEDA-CAR) during the Weekly Kapihan said they will conduct three surveys with the result of the first to come out first week of August.
Faculo explained they will be commissioning state universities and colleges in the region to conduct the survey. She added that the second round would be in November and the third in February 2013. # nordis.net