Baguio mayor backs creation of Cordillera Autonomous Region

MANILA-- A local official from the present Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has urged Congress to pass a measure seeking to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC).

Mayor Mauricio Domogan of Baguio City called for the approval of House Bill 5343 during a recent hearing conducted by the House committee on constitutional amendments.

Domogan said the proposed ARC will give the region the status of autonomy and will finally be acceptable to the people of the Cordilleras.

"This is the hope of our Cordilleras, hope of our children, and the hope of our children's children," Domogan said.

He noted that the two previous organic acts, Republic Act 6766 and RA 8438, were rejected by the people in two plebiscites held in 1990 and 1998, respectively.

Domogan lamented the lack of funding from the national and local governments under the present political setup.

He pointed CAR receives the lowest share in terms of internal revenue allotment (IRA), with a share of 3.05 percent or PHP14.87 billion of the total IRA in 2017.

He added that the region also received the lowest share from the budgets of national agencies and major departments.

HB 5343, authored by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, aims to establish a political entity and provide for its basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and cause of the Cordillerans and to secure their identity and posterity and allow for meaningful governance.

Domogan said the proposal seeks to grant the autonomous government of CAR a subsidy of PHP10 billion for the first five years, and a total of PHP75 billion in 10 years.

Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, for his part, said the House can provide support for the approval of HB 5343 to make the Cordillera Region a stronger autonomous region.

Acop, however, said there should be unity within the CAR before the approval of the bill to ensure its adoption in an eventual plebiscite.

Source: Philippines News Agency