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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Bulut Jr. vows to request PBBM to certify Cordillera autonomy bill as urgent

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Apayao, Philippines – The absence of the President of the Philippines in today’s 36th Cordillera Day commemoration will not stop the Chairman of the Regional Development Council from pursuing genuine autonomy.

Cordillerans, especially this year’s host province – Apayao, had been prepping in anticipation of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s visit. However, he cancelled his attendance due to the inclement weather.

The President, according to RDC Chair and Apayao Governor Elias Bulut Jr., badly wanted to attend the significant event but he couldn’t risk the weather condition.

The long-time quest for Cordillera Autonomy

The supposed visit of Marcos raised hopes for the granting of self-determination to the Cordillera Region described by most leaders as “long overdue.”

To recall, only the province of Apayao favored self-rule during the second referendum on March 7, 1998, next to January 30, 1990. Other provinces lacked understanding and awareness then, coupled with misinformation.

With an extensive information drive, Cordilleran lawmakers realized that “autonomy is the most effective way for the region to achieve sustainable development and to enjoy the management and use of its natural resources.”

Autonomy bill has since been filed to Congress but all of such failed to be passed into law due to lack of material time.

In March 2023, House Bill 3267 seeking for the same was approved by the House Committee on Appropriations.

The measure will be transmitted to the House Committee on Rules for it to be calendared for plenary debates.

“Adda namnama ti otonomiya”

Despite the President’s nonattendance, the RDC Chair encouraged his fellow leaders to remain hopeful since the way he sees it, Marcos is really trying to help.

He expressed commitment to make the President certify as urgent the autonomy bill, especially with the added support of the youth sector, as established during the recently concluded search for Mr. and Ms. Cordillera Youth Ambassadors for Autonomy.

If HB 3267 will be given priority, there might be a plebiscite by 2025 and by then, Cordillerans will get to affirm their support for self-rule, said the governor.

Bulut Jr. vowed to have an audience with the President after the latter delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24.

Meantime, he sent his plea on behalf of the people of the region to Northern Luzon Assistant Secretary, Ana Carmela Remigio who graced the celebration.


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