Strong Cordillera autonomy and ancestral domain key features of federalism and constitutional reforms - DILG

June 25, 2018

Cordillera will have stronger autonomy and better policies on ancestral domain if the country decides to federalize, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Federalism, in essence, is about empowering the regions and this, I believe, would give a certain level of autonomy not just to the Cordillera Region, but to the other regions in the Philippines” says the DILG Assistant Secretary for Communication and Public Affairs Jonathan E. Malaya.

According to Malaya, it is best to attend the Pederalismo serye town hall meeting with basic sectors, the Consultative Committee's (Concom) Consultations and the Federalism convention/rally when the national government brings the roadshow to Baguio on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

“The future of the Cordillera region will be tackled during DILG’s dialogue with multi-sectoral groups. So let us all take part in the roadshow to know more about the form of autonomy that constitutional reform will give to Cordillera,” says Malaya.

Malaya is certain that the dialogue and convention would clear the misconception that federalism would somehow erase the current constitutional provision for a self-governing Cordillera region.

The Pederalismo serye town hall meeting with basic sectors is a dialogue among the stakeholders of the campaign, while the rally is Cordillera’s way of showing its collective support for federalism.

Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution provides for the creation of autonomous regions for minority groups in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.

Meanwhile, local officials of Cordillera region have been appealing to Congress to give life to the constitutional provision on Cordillera autonomy.

“This is why the DILG is reaching out to the regions. We need to know your concerns and, at the same time, correct the misunderstandings about federalism,” says Malaya.

Constitutional reform has long been a controversial topic that has caused critics to believe that politicians will use the campaign to push for their own agenda.

“Federalism is about power-sharing and discourages monopoly. In fact, the Anti-Dynasty and electoral provisions will encourage more people to run for elections,” says Malaya.

Besides discussions on autonomy, the DILG’s event will also focus on the subject of ancestral domain.

Other topics such as education, arts, culture and business will be discussed during the town hall meeting of the roadshow.

Aside from Malaya, speaking at the town hall meeting will be Political Analysts Ramon Casiple and Gary Olivar.

Also attending are Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Benguet Province Governor Cresencio Pacalso and former Bucloc Mayor Mailed Molina.

Following the dialogue will be the federalism convention/rally to be held at the University of Baguio Gymnasium.

The Concom will also hold consultations along with DILG’s roadshow to gather inputs from the locals to include in the proposal for the new federalism model.

Concom is on a race against time to finalize the draft model before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month.

The country expects the President to present the model during his SONA, after which the proposal will go through Congress deliberations.

The DILG launched its roadshow on June 18, 2018 in Dumaguete with successful events that garnered overwhelming support from the Negrenses.

Around 6,000-8,000 people and a motorcade from the different parts of Negros flocked to Dumaguete during the Negros rally, exceeding the targeted 5,000 supporters of federalism.

“We likewise hope to gain the hearts of the Cordillera people when we explain the nature of federalism to them. We look forward to visiting the beautiful City of Pines,” says Malaya.