COTABATO CITY— The people who understand best the struggle for self-governance are those who went through it themselves.
In this spirit, the interim Bangsamoro parliament passed a resolution expressing full support for the passage of measures now pending before Congress seeking to establish, yet again, an autonomous region in the Cordillera (ARC).
The current cause for Cordillera autonomy is contained in House Bill No. 5687 filed by All seven Cordillera representatives and Senate Bill No. 1232 filed by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The 1987 Constitution provides for the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras.
In the resolution, Bangsamoro parliament members said they believe that “the Cordillera’s pursuit of autonomy also deserves the same amount of attention and support as that of the Bangsamoro.”
The resolution was introduced by parliaments members Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, Jose Lorena, Laisa Alamia, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Suharto Ambolodto, Don Mustapha Loong, Amir Mawallil, Rasul Ismael, and Lanang Ali Jr.
During the plenary deliberation on the measure, Mohagher Iqbal, who is also the Bangsamoro’s education minister, expressed the desire to co-author the resolution.
Iqbal used to head the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s panel in the long and arduous negotiations with the government to gain greater self-governance powers.
When the Bangsamoro Organic Law was still pending in Congress, the Regional Development Council of the Cordillera Administrative Region issued a resolution expressing support for the passage of the Moro autonomy law.
“It is now our turn to support the bid of the people of the Cordilleras for their autonomous region,” Ampatuan said.
The Cordilleras included the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga, and the City of Baguio.
Two plebiscites were held in the past but votes against full Cordillera autonomy overwhelmed votes in favor of it.
In the first, on January 30, 1990, Ifugao was the lone province to vote for self-rule. In the second, on March 7, 1998, only Apayao province chose autonomy.