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Peace pioneers back autonomy

BANGUED, Abra – Surviving pioneers of the historic Mount Data peace agreement renewed their support and commitment for the region’s third crack in achieving the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera to guarantee robust development and better quality of life for the people.

 

The agreement was reached by leaders of the Cordillera Forum on Peace and Development (CFPD) and the unified Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) command chaired by Vice Governor Ronald Balao-as during a recent meeting with officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to help in boosting the chances of realizing the long overdue dream of the Cordillerans for self-governance through the establishment of the autonomous region.

CFPD chairman Arsenio Humiding and unified CPLA chairman Balao-as agreed to support the direction embraced by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera chaired by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan which is autonomy towards federalism considering that it is still aligned with the current advocacy of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for the decentralization of powers and resources to ensure the robust development of the countryside.

“We are elated that we were able to strike an agreement with our fellow peace advocates so that we will be able to contribute in aggressively advancing our clamor for autonomy which is one of the major talking points of the government peace panel and the (CPLA) during the negotiations for the crafting of the Mount Data peace agreement. We hope that our agreement will help in convincing the President to certify as an urgent priority administration the pending autonomy bills in the House and the Senate,: Vice Governor Balao-as stressed.

Aside from renewing their commitment and support to the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy, the CFPD and unified CPLA command proposed to the OPAPP the profiling of the remaining CPLA combatants for them to be properly documented and extended whatever assistance from the concerned government agencies in recognition of their previous struggle for the achievement of lasting peace in the region through the Mount Data peace agreement.

Further, Balao-as disclosed that OPAPP officials also committed the fulfilment of the previous commitment 0f Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza for the inclusion of the unprofiled CPLA combatants to the government’s peace and development forces which is now being finalized by the OPAPP.

Balao-as expressed his gratitude to Modesto Ka Jet Sagudang, a member of the CFPD, for proposing to the OPAPP the profiling of the remaining CPLA combatants because there are still a number of combatants who were not included in the closure agreement entered into by the CFPD and the Aquino administration in 2011.

Last March 21, 2018, Secretary Dureza visited the province and committed the Duterte administration’s support to the unified CPLA command in unifying its forces amidst the efforts of some factions to discredit such efforts, saying that the government will support those who are willing to support themselves in the achievement of lasting peace in the country.

By HENT