Dureza lobbies for Cordillera autonomy
BAGUIO CITY: Malacañang’s former top peace adviser has assured the people of the Cordillera that he would continue to lead lobbying for passage of a long overdue bill that would establish the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera.
In a phone patch interview aired over RPN-dzBS early Friday morning, Jesus Dureza said he would not leave behind what he started because it was his obligation as an adopted son of the Cordillera.
“I am more saddened about what happened, having to resign from my post primarily because of (sense of propriety). I assure the Cordillera people, I will stand by you in pursuing what we have already started, lobbying for the passage of the law that will create the Autonomous Region in the Cordillera. I did not mean to orphan the autonomy advocates and I will make my presence felt in the Cordillera,” Dureza added.
He said he would volunteer his services to the Duterte administration’s incoming top peace adviser, retiring Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., because he was familiar with the peace process.
Now that the Bangsamoro Organic Law has already been put in place, Dureza added, there was a need for a counterpart peace initiative in the North to complete the overall peace cycle.
He was made adopted son of the Cordillera on July 14 and given the local name “or peacemaker in recognition of his passion for achieving lasting peace in the country.
Dureza was instrumental in 120 Cordillera leaders with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on July 18, 2017 where the latter vowed to certify pending autonomy bills in Congress as priority administration measures.
He announced that he would revive his foundation that focuses on the advocacy for federalism and autonomy.
Dureza said even with his resignation as the government’s top peace adviser, the campaign for the region’s autonomy was not a lost cause because there were many avenues available to advance the quest for self-governance for the Cordillera.
He added that now he would have more time to visit the Cordillera and convince various sectors to sustain the autonomy advocacy to send a clear message to lawmakers and Pal-
for development of the region.
Dureza said he would make his presence felt no longer in Mindanao but in the Cordillera until the Cordillera Autonomous Region is realized.