The Cordilleras will become the Cordillera Federated Region (CFR) under federalism.
This would lead to a more progressive region according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"What is non-negotiable to the proposal of federalism is the federated regions because federalism will ensure more resources, more powers, more autonomy for the Cordilleras and the rest of the country,” said DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya.
This was in order to preserve the unity of Filipinos under federal governance, he added during the Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors.
The entire region will find stronger autonomy as the Cordillera Federated Region (CFR) when the country shifts to federal governance.
Malaya said that while federalism guarantees a certain level of autonomy to the regions, it must also make sure to hold the country together.
"We are a holding together kind of federalism so we use federalism to make our country stronger,” said Malaya.
During the town hall meeting, sectoral leaders converged to support the Duterte administration’s advocacy for federalism.
Former Deputy Presidential Spokesperson and political analyst Gary Olivar said that there will only be one sovereign state under federalism, which is the Republic of the Philippines.
The Cordilleras will be one of the 18 federated regions under federalism, which Olivar believed would give them a certain degree of autonomy.
Under a unitary setup, the government has failed to give the Cordillera region the autonomy provided by the 1987 Constitution. Malaya hopes that the next constitutional reform would allow for a more united Cordillera region.
The CFR will have more powers to create and implement laws that will fast track development and generate revenues.
Meanwhile, the current Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has been pushing for the same autonomy being discussed for the Bangsamoro.
The region hoped that federalism will provide them with the same autonomy as the BBL, according to Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan.
"Our clamor for autonomy is not contrary to federalism,” said Domogan during the convention for federalism.
He added that federalism could be CAR’s next step for autonomy.
"Nagpapasalamat tayo na inaprobahan ng Lower House ang BBL. It gives us hope for our own autonomy. Let us be one to support our autonomy towards federalism. Sana tulungan nila tayo katulad sa BBL,” said Domogan.
Benguet Province Governor Crescencio C. Pacalso called on the people of Cordillera to unite instead of letting their differences interfere with the unity that they are pushing for.
Pacalso believed that no government will come up with a Constitution that is detrimental to its people, so it’s best to listen for the government’s federalism proposal.
Around 2,500 people from the different parts of the region attended the Department’s federalism convention on June 26.
On the other hand, the roadhow in Baguio has garnered over 7,000 supporters online.
The town hall meeting and convention in Baguio served as the DILG’s second event for the regional federalism roadshow.
The Consultative Committee likewise conducted consultations with CAR to include in the draft proposal for federalism.
Concom’s model will be submitted to the president and will be presented to the public during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23, 2018.