Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar, during the 4th quarter joint meeting of the Cordillera Regional Development Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council at Newtown Plaza Hotel here, outlined that as an administrative region, the Cordillera still struggles with underdevelopment, poverty, inaccessibility, the devastation of its natural resource base, and insurgency which are the center of the call for autonomy in the Cordillera that started several decades ago.
He encouraged Cordillera stakeholders to take a long, hard look on the pursuit of regional autonomy and development.
“If it is still still a relevant solution to regional development and security in the region, then be the leaders that this region has yet to to have and see, do something to make things happen. But most important, regional autonomy must remain an aspiration and movement of the people, not a program from the government with benefits to be given to them,” Dar stressed.
The 1987 Constitution provides that aside from Muslim Mindanao, autonomous region shall also established in the Cordillera region.
The RDC-CAR has made it its mission to unify, integrate and coordinate all efforts towards the establishment of an autonomous region and thereby accelerate physic-social-cultural and economic development."
In the meeting jointly presided by RDC chairperson Abra Governor Joy Bernos and RPOC chairperson Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong which tackled updates on the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF – ELCAC), Dar called for stronger partnership towards regional development and security.
“As your CORDS, it is more important that together, all us must take this first step as leaders towards regional development and security, anchored on the aspirations of our people, and the expectations and support of our neighbors, and the whole nation as well, for us to succeed with our roles and responsibilities as Cordillerans,” he said.
Dar also reiterated his call for continuing convergence in addressing poverty especially in conflict affected barangays in the region, stressing that poverty is the main cause of insurgency and other concerns of the country.
As Agriculture Secretary, Dar also assured that he will bring in relevant DA programs that can help alleviate to life of the people on armed conflict affected barangays in Cordillera. (JDP/CC-/PIA CAR)