BAGUIO CITY, June 29 (PIA) -- The Constitutional Committee(ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution encouraged the leaders of the Cordillera through the Regional Development Council (RDC) to continue their effort towards attainment of an autonomous status.
ConCom member Dr. Virgilio Bautista, former chair of the Cordillera RDC in a press conference on June 25 here, said “it is very beneficial for the Cordillera if it continues to pursue its autonomy, same thing with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).”
The 1987 provides that there shall be autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao, which the ConCom assured will continue to be in the Constitution being drafted.
Bautista also said that the provision on Cordillera autonomy will be “constitutionalized”, further protecting it and strengthening the region’s bid. Cordillera at present remains to be an administrative region pending its creation as an autonomous region by virtue of an organic act which is pending in the Lower House as House Bill 5343 with a similar bill as counterpart authored by Senator Migz Zubiri in the Senate.
In the draft Constitution the ConCom is working on, “the federated region of the Cordillera shall have the adaption of the Constitution for the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Baguio City and the component city of Tabuk without prejudice to expansion.”
Bautista urged the RDC to continue with their effort considering that after the ConCom’s transmittal of the draft constitution to President Rodrigo Duterte on the first week of July, the same will still be transmitted to the Congress for the final copy and approval before it is subjected to a plebiscite by the Filipino electorate.
“It’s just that we have to be realistic, whichever comes first, the objective is the same. Federalism is self governance, the power will come from the region rather than the central office,” he said.
Bautista and six other ConCom members conducted regional consultation in Baguio City on June 26 to present the salient features of the first draft of the federal state constitution and to gather inputs from the people for inclusion in the draft they would submit to the President next week. (PIA CAR)