November 30, 2008 in general
BAGUIO CITY — Quoting sections from the 1987 Philippine Constitution that defines the mandate to pursue Cordillera regional autonomy, Regional Development Council’s Juan Ngalob Jr. sees no rush for another referendum after two failed ones in the past.
“There is nothing to rush,” Ngalob kept repeating during the press conference here Wednesday.
Cordillerans, in a survey appeared not very knowledgeable about regional autonomy, with almost half or 49% of the respondents saying they are not aware. The survey was conducted in late 2007 up to early 2008, said Ngalob.
“Of those who are aware, only 20% would answer yes when asked if they wanted an autonomous Cordillera,” disclosed Ngalob.
He said a bigger percentage (65%) of those who are aware were undecided and only 15% would vote “No.”
In the first referendum in 1987, only Ifugao wanted a regional autonomy while in 1998, only Apayao approved of it.
Ngalob said there is a need to inform as many people as possible and ask them to participate in the drafting and crafting of the third Organic Act, which he said still needs to be negotiated with Congress.
Responding to a query as to whether the regional autonomy campaign would jibe with a constitutional change, Ngalob said even if there is a charter change, Cordillerans should not allow the constitutional provision for regional autonomy to be deleted. He iterated the third bid resulted from a regional strategic planning workshop in 2006.
As this developed, both the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education are readying modules on Cordillera regional autonomy for inclusion in Social Studies and English courses.
These would be taught in Grades 4 to 6 in the elementary levels up to forth year in high school, without prejudice to public school teachers who might not be in favor of the autonomy bid, according to Benito Tumamao, regional director of DepEd Cordillera.
College students would be introduced to the regional autonomy through inclusions in the subjects Philippine Government and Constitution and Philippine History.
The proposed modules would be for schools nationwide.
Besides schools, an internet-based education material would also carry information of the regional autonomy, according to Ngalob. # Lyn V. Ramo