President Rodrigo Duterte is supporting the newest attempt to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region, according to his peace adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza.
According to Dureza, the President said during his recent meeting with government officials and civil leaders from the region that he will "support strongly" the renewed push for Cordillera's autonomy.
The latest push for a Cordillera Autonomous Region comes despite two failed attempts in the 90's and a mandate provided by Article 10, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution.
"Kasi under our Constitution, there are two autonomous regions dapat: Bangsamoro and the Cordillera. Hindi na natuloy 'yung Cordillera dahil twice ding na-reject in a plebiscite. Administrative region lang," Dureza told ANC's Beyond Politics.
Dureza said he has met with stakeholders on the issue upon instructions from the President. "We've met with them already and, una kasing pagpunta ko roon upon instructions of the President, sabi niya, 'Tignan mo muna dahil watak-watak rin sila eh. Marami silang paksyon.' So I met with them. I think I've met with them about five times already. And after that, nakita ko in my last meeting with them there in Baguio, inipon nila lahat yung mga hindi nakausap na mga grupo they came around. They said, we will set aside our differences, but we will unite behind a Cordillera Autonomous Region effort. So malaking bagay yun."
Dureza added that House representatives from the Cordillera Administrative Region have thrown their support for House Bill 5343, which seeks to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.