Dureza’s res­ig­na­tion a big loss to bid for au­ton­omy

Sun.Star Baguio - - Top Stories -

CORDILLERA lead­ers branded the un­timely res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­den­tial Peace Ad­viser on the Peace Process Je­sus Dureza as a big loss to the re­al­iza­tion of the re­gion’s quest for the es­tab­lish­ment of the long over­due Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in the Cordillera (ARC) which he had been cham­pi­oning since he as­sumed the said post over two years ago.

Baguio City Mayor Mauri­cio Do­mo­gan, who chairs the Cordillera Re­gional Devel­op­ment Coun­cil (RDCCAR) and the Re­gional Peace and Or­der Coun­cil (RPOC-CAR), pointed out the Cordillera was or­phaned by the res­ig­na­tion of Dureza from his post will have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the on-go­ing lob­by­ing be­ing done by Cordillera lead­ers for the in­clu­sion of the Cordillera au­ton­omy is­sue to the Pres­i­dent’s Leg­isla­tive Agenda (PLA) and the Com­mon Leg­isla­tive Agenda (CLA) of both cham­bers of Congress aside from the lob­by­ing be­ing done for the is­suance of a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent that the pend­ing au­ton­omy bills in both Houses are pri­or­ity ad­min­is­tra­tion mea­sures.

“We be­lieve Sec­re­tary Dureza was just a vic­tim of cir­cum­stances be­cause he is known to be a straight for­ward and ded­i­cated pub­lic ser­vant. His record in govern­ment ser­vice has never been tar­nished by is­sues on cor­rup­tion but it just so hap­pened that he

was a vic­tim of cir­cum­stances that pre­vailed in his of­fice,” Do­mo­gan stressed.

On July 14, 2018, the Cordillera adopted Sec­re­tary Dureza as a son of the re­gion and was given the name ‘men­sapit’ or peace­maker be­cause of his ad­vo­cacy on the com­ple­tion of the govern­ment’s peace ini­tia­tives in the south through the en­act­ment of the Bangsamoro Or­ganic Law and the ARC for the north.

Dureza was also in­stru­men­tal in ar­rang­ing the first-ever meet­ing of some 120 lead­ers from the Cordillera with Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte in Mala­cañang on July 18, 2018 where the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive as­sured the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the pend­ing au­ton­omy bills as ur­gent ad­min­is­tra­tion mea­sures.

Kalinga Rep. and Moun­tain Prov­ince care­taker Allen Jesse Man­gaoang said Cordillera law­mak­ers, who are all au­thors of House Bill (HB) 5343 that seeks to es­tab­lish the ARC, were sad­dened upon learn­ing of the sud­den res­ig­na­tion of the re­gion’s re­li­able and trusted bridge to the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent, Sec­re­tary Dureza.

“We cer­tainly lost a guardian an­gel who sus­tained his com­mit­ment to cham­pion our re­newed quest for au­ton­omy. We hope that the one who will re­place him will be re­cep­tive to our clamor for au­ton­omy sim­i­lar to what had been achieved by Sec­re­tary Dureza,” Man­gaoang stressed.

Man­gaoang ex­pressed op­ti­mism the best for the Cordillera is yet to come even with the se­ri­ous set­back suf­fered by the re­gion’s quest for au­ton­omy be­cause Cordillera law­mak­ers will now strive to work out the de­lib­er­a­tions of HB 5343 in the House com­mit­tee on lo­cal govern­ment while ef­forts are be­ing done to lobby its de­lib­er­a­tions in the Se­nate com­mit­tee level for the pend­ing bills to have a clear di­rec­tion when opened for de­bates.

Photo by Jean Ni­cole Cortes

KNOW YOUR STA­TUS. HIV-AIDS ad­vo­cates show off their shirt with the sym­bolic rib­bon to ad­vo­cate aware­ness of the dis­ease. More than 9.4 mil­lion peo­ple do not know that they are liv­ing with AIDS.

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