Presidential bets support the creation of Cordillera Autonomous Region

MANILA, Philippines – At least five of the presidential candidates for the 2022 presidential election support the passage of the Cordillera Organic Law for the creation of Cordillera Autonomous Region.

During the forum “The Bangsamoro Agenda 2022” on Wednesday, March 16, representatives of presidential candidates were asked about the bets’ stance on the passage of an organic law for Cordillera.

Partido Lakas ng Masa chairperson Sonny Melencio, who represented labor leader Leody de Guzman, said their party has long been involved in Cordillera affairs.

We’re also [been] part of it for quite a long time because meron kaming (we have a) relationship with the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army a long time ago. Even after the Mount Data Agreement and then of course the closure agreement na nangyari noong (that happened in) 2011,” Melencio said.

The 1987 Constitution mandates the creation of autonomous regions for Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras. Under Article 10, Section 15 of the Constitution, the autonomous regions will consist of “provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant Constitution characteristics within the framework of this and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”


Only in 2018 the Bangsamoro started to enjoy its autonomous status after the Bangsamoro Organic Law was signed. The law provided better fiscal and political autonomy for the region.

The Cordillera Autonomous Region has yet to be established because two previous organic acts were rejected by the people. The two previous Cordillera Organic Acts were rejected during plebiscites on January 30, 1990 and March 7, 1998.

Former agriculture secretary and now senatorial candidate Manny Piñol said presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson also supports Cordillera’s autonomy. Piñol represented the Partido Reporma party standard bearer.

“Yes, our presidential candidate supports the fulfillment of the commitment of our government in the Cordillera region.”

Mindanaoan civic leader and senatorial candidate under Isko Moreno’s slate Samira Gutoc said the Manila mayor also supports the creation of an autonomous region for Cordillerans.

Si Isko Moreno was a peace panelist member so the core of his understanding of autonomy was deeply appreciated by him na kailangan po mutual process na kilalanin. Kaya ‘yong Cordillera, talagang alam niya na ‘yong unique culture, ethnolinguistic natin, intricacy natin ay kilalanin.”

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(Isko Moreno was a peace panelist member so the core of his understanding of autonomy is deeply appreciated by him that a mutual process should be acknowledged. That’s why he knows that the unique culture, ethnolinguistic, and intricacy of Cordillera should be acknowledged.)

Senator Koko Pimentel, who is represented by Senator Manny Pacquiao, said the boxer-turned-lawmaker also supports the suggestion, just like their party’s stance. Although Pacquiao is part of a different faction of the PDP-Laban, he runs under the PROMDI party.

Si Senador Manny Pacquiao ang official candidate po ng PDP-Laban. Ang PDP-Laban ay naniniwala sa pederalismo, nasa constitution po ng partido ‘yan. At kami ni Senator Pacquiao alam namin na destinasyon ‘yonthere are some steps that we need to take before you reach your destination,” Pimentel said.

(Senator Manny Pacquiao is the official candidate of PDP-Laban. PDP-Laban believes in federalism, it’s in our party’s constitution. And Senator Pacquiao and I know that destination.)

“So local autonomy, autonomous regions, and federalism. So definitely suportado po namin ‘yong (we support the idea) idea ng (of) Cordillera Autonomous Region,” the lawmaker added.

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According to former Ifugao lawmaker and senatorial candidate Teddy Bagilit, presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo is committed to the passage of the organic law. But, Robredo says the drive should first come from the people, said Bagilit.

Pero when I ask President Leni, do’n sa kanyang posisyon tungkol dito, ang sabi niya ‘Dapat manggaling mismo sa mga Cordillerans ‘yong (But when I ask President Leni about her position in this, she said, ‘It should come from Cordillerans) drive to establish a Cordillera Autonomous Region,’ which I agree twice because it has already failed.”

The Ifugao native also said the opposition leader would provide political will to ensure that the autonomous region would be established.

“So it’s about time na dapat magkaroon talaga kami ng self-introspection sa (that we need to have a self-introspect in) Cordillera and if we truly believe in [an] The region, definitely Leni Robredo will provide the political will to ensure that this region or this law is passed,” Baguilat said. – Rappler.com

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