BAGUIO CITY, July 21 (PIA) -- President Rodrigo Duterte assured his support to the attainment of a Cordillera Autonomous Region and the continued development of the region.
On Tuesday, more than 100 Cordilleran leaders showed force and unity to push for the concerns of the region primarily its pursuit for an autonomous region.
Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council Chairman, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said that their travel to the Palace was fruitful as Pres. Duterte has certified the House Bill 5343 or the creation of the Cordillera Autonomous Region as a priority bill with the Bangsamoro Basic Law. HB 5343 was earlier filed by the seven Cordillera lawmakers.
Domogan, who led the Cordilleran delegates, said that the President assured that whatever will be done to the Bangsamoro Basic Law will also be done for the House Bill 5343. He declared the BBL as a priority bill on Monday during the meeting of Mindanao Leaders and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission at the Palace.
This was the first time in 30 years that Cordillera leaders including elected officials, regional line agencies, civil society and non-government organizations came together to show unity to the President that they are one in solidarity in pursuit of the Cordillera autonomy.
Aside from the certification of the autonomy bill, Domogan also asked the President to support and continue the Cordillera Road Infrastructure Program which still needs funding to pave the remaining roads in the region and for the modernization of the Loakan Airport in Baguio City which is an important infrastructure for Baguio City-manufactured export products and a critical lifeline during disasters.
Domogan said at least 183.3 kilometers of roads in the region are not yet paved, 93.5 km are national roads while 44.8 km are local roads.
The President has tasked the Cordillera officials to coordinate with DPWH Sec. Mark Villar for the road improvements in the region and for the Loakan airport as well.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said that the meeting of the Cordillerans with the President was a historic event since this was the first time the Cordillerans gathered together setting aside their difference for one advocacy which is to entrench the Cordillera autonomous region which is the dream and the aspiration of the Cordillerans .
With Pres. Duterte, we see that there is going to be a headway in this aspiration of the Cordillerans, said Dureza who facilitated this meeting.
During the meeting, the President also talked on federalism and rallied support from the Cordillerans. He said the long occupation by colonial powers in addition to the adoption of the unitary type of government resulted in uneven development of the Philippines.
The President believes a federal setup will correct this inequality and eventually make the country progressive. He also warned that if the aspirations of the Muslim Filipinos are neglected, the country will never achieve peace. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)