NEDA, CHED challenge youth in regional Press Con
THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority has partnered with the Commission on Higher Education in the Cordillera region to bring the message of autonomy to campus journalists during the 20th Regional Higher Education Press Conference in Baguio City held November 29 and 30.
Autonomy advocate Gary Pekas of Mountain Province with NEDA-CAR provided information on the basic concepts of autonomy, its history, and highlights of the renewed pursuit of Cordillera as detailed in the proposed Organic Act (HB 5343) establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.
Pekas discussed indigenous Cordillerans, along with other indigenous peoples in the Philippines, are the best representation of the Philippines before colonialism.
“Look at the depiction of Lapu-lapu and you’ll see similar articles of clothing and accessories: bahag, bolo; we come from the same roots,” he said.
Pekas added Cordilleran sense of self-determination was simply a matter of survival. He referred to various development programs in the 20th century that disenfranchised many Cordillerans and highlighted the Chico river dam project as the breaking point.
Cordilleran autonomy is based upon on the historical and cultural differences built over centuries of colonialism and the subsequent inappropriate laws and policies that failed to take account of these differences.
Pekas challenged the campus journalists to raise awareness of Cordillera autonomy emphasizing autonomy is granted to the region since the Constitution was ratified by the people including the mandate for autonomy.
The Regional Development Council with NEDA-CAR as its technical secretariat has adopted Cordillera autonomy as the overarching theme of regional development. Aligned with the national government’s
plans for Federalism, which provides more autonomy to regions of the country, the region and its leaders have agreed to pursue Cordillera autonomy first towards federalism. This will ensure that the region will secure an enhanced identity and be able to craft more responsive policies that will bring progress to all.