Cordillera: Quest for autonomy in Cordillera to be revived
Last Monday, Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA) chairman Sergio Kawi said Congressman-elect Victor Dominguez of Mt. Province had promised him he would initiate the revival of the quest for autonomy in Congress.
"Even three years ago, Dominguez assured CRA officials that he would lead the revival of the three Cordillera bodies once elected congressman this year. I am confident that he would fulfill his promise," Kawi said.
Dominguez bested four other rivals in the much-contested lone district of Mt. Province during the May 10 elections.
Kawi said he made a follow-up of Dominguez's promise and the congressman-elect assured him anew that the revival of the three bodies would be one of his main priorities in Congress.
"I had a strong belief that Dominguez has been consistent and he makes good his promises," Kawi said.
Earlier, top Cordillera officials surprisingly set aside their political indifferences and agreed to revive the aborted quest for autonomy in the region.
The officials, led by the respective heads of CRA, the Cordillera Executive Board (CEB) and the Cordillera Budong Administration (CBAd), said the establishment of an autonomous region is the price of the peace settlement 16 years ago between the Aquino Government and the former Cordillera rebels.
The promise for an autonomous Cordillera was part of the 1986 Mt. Data peace accord when the Aquino Government convinced the Cordillera People's Liberation Army (CPLA) to lay down their arms and become its partners in fostering peace and development in the region.
The quest for autonomy, however, was aborted after the Cordillerans twice rejected the proposed creation of an autonomous government here during the conduct of two plebiscites.
"We appeal to the National Government to please give due regard, respect, implement and uphold the will of the Cordillera people as represented in that 1986 Mt. Data Peace agreement," the leaders' joint declaration reads.
They claimed that "the Cordillera people, in all candor and sincerity, accepted the government's effort in good faith without thinking that such agreement will soon be violated and not implemented."
But while top Cordillera leaders are determined to revive the bid for autonomy, majority of the seven Cordillera solons are no longer interested in supporting them.
Some of the former Cordillera legislators also blamed the CRA, CEB and CBAd on their failure to disseminate the merits of an autonomous government, as well as political bickering, which, they claimed, attributed much to the overwhelming rejection of the Cordillerans of the two plebiscites held.
Baguio Rep. Mauricio Domogan, who was then an ardent autonomy advocate, is
now convincing the other six congressmen to instead support the campaign for
the put-up of a federal form of government in the country.
Source: Sun Star Baguio