Dureza lob­bies for Cordillera au­ton­omy

Manila Times - - Regions - BY DEXTER A. SEE del­i­cadeza Men­sapit”

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.

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