Tabuk City, Kalinga—The people of Cordillera are pushing again for full autonomy, including fiscal budgetary management, as the nation has witnessed the plebiscite in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In the recent Regional Development Council meeting in Baguio City, governors, private sectors, non-government agencies as well as department regional directors agreed to push for full autonomy of the Cordillera region.
Kalinga Governor Jocel Baac said there is a need for another house measure after House Bill 5443 was axed in the House Committee on Local Government.
HB 5443 was introduced by Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat with Baac as then Regional Development Council chair, hoping to attain total autonomy for the Cordillera region.
Then President Corazon Aquino and the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army signed the SIPAT Agreement where the 26 points demand by the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army was studied, but only three was not approved.
“Sipat” is a local Mountain Province term for peace.
The Sipat Agreement paved the way for the cessation of hostilities between government forces and the Cordillera rebels. It was signed on September 13, 1986 by then-President Aquino in Mt. Data Hotel in barangay Data, Bauco, Mountain Province.
Previous to the Sipat Agreement, Aquino introduced in the 1987 Philippine Constitution Article 10, Section 15 creating the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras to which the CPLA is now legally basing their move for full autonomy.
“The Cordillerans want full autonomy to enable us to manage our own resources with fiscal independence where the budget would be decided among our leaders instead of the national government agencies doing that for us, said Engr. Andres Ngao-i, a Kalingan representative for the private sector to the RDC.
To ensure full support from Cordilleran legislators, the RDC-CAR decided to hold consultative forum for the members of the council to listen to the said 2019 elections candidates’ legislative agenda.
The CPLA leadership said they will support fully those who will push for their autonomy,” said Ngao-i, also the Regional Commander of the Cordillera Bodong Association.