MANILA - Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat reiterated his call on Malacanang to consider the autonomy aspirations of the Cordillera people.
Baguilat said that like their Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao, the people of the Cordillera also want to exert their right to self-determination especially since their culture and tradition remains intact despite colonization and the onset of modern government.
He added that the people of the Cordillera want autonomy, and this can be proven by the filing of a common autonomy bill filed by representatives of the region to be covered by the autonomy law.
"I am asking Malacanang to consider the autonomy aspirations of the Cordillerans, and for the House leadership to tackle the house bill that the representatives of the region filed," said Baguilat.
"Now that we have largely resolved issues in Muslim Mindanao, and hopefully bring about peace and development there, let us not forget the people of the Cordillera," he added.
Baguilat cited that autonomy for the Cordillera Administrative Region is actually mandated under the 1987 constitution drafted and approved under the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino.
"Granting autonomy to the Cordillera is one constitutional provision that has not been fulfilled and I believe it has to be," Baguilat said in an earlier statement.
In the 15th Congress, the five CAR Representatives - Eleanor Begtang of Apayao, Bernardo Vergara of Baguio City, Baguilat, Manuel Agyao of Kalinga and Maximo Dalog of Mt. Province - filed House Bill 5595 that sought to create a Cordillera Autonomous Region.
The bill, however, did not progress far due to remaining questions on how exactly the autonomous region will work.
Baguilat expressed confidence, however, that the people in the Cordillera are more than ready for self-rule.
The Regional Development Council of the Cordillera Administrative Region has been working on the proposed third Cordillera Autonomy Organic Act and Baguilat hoped that such an act would win the support of President Aquino.