TSD, DILG-CAR Blog

Information, Education and Communication on Cordillera Regional Development and Autonomy (For Government Officials and Functionaries

Posted on: May 6, 2009

End-Of-Activity Report

I. Title of  Activity

:

IEC on Cordillera Development and Autonomy for Government Officials and Employees

II. Dates and Venues

:

December 2, 2008, Hotel SupremeBaguio CityandMarch 25, 2009, 8:00 am—5:00 pm,

Tabuk Pastoral Center

Bulanao, Tabuk City, Kalinga

III. Training Objectives

:

  1. Inform and educate all government officials and employees in CAR, on the constitutional provisions on autonomy in the Cordillera, and the RDCs Action Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy;
  2. Enlighten, clarify misinterpretations/ disinformation and correct distorted views on autonomy; and
  3. Gather feedback from government officials and employees on autonomy and RDC actions on the same, and submit the processed results to the RDC for its appropriate decision making.
IV. Participants and Training Team : The participants and members of the training team were the following:

Baguio:  207 employees from government 26 regional

line agencies.

14  Management and Training Staff

Kalinga:  209 government functionaries/students and  representatives from the academe

13 Management and Training Staff

Total:         443

V. Highlights of Activities:

Activity 01- Hotel Supreme IEC for Regional Line Agencies Employees

Opening Ceremonies:

The Opening  Prayer  was delivered by  Engr. Marlon Walang, a  member  of the TWG at 1:10 p.m. Another member of the TWG, Mr. Nards Andanan, acknowledged the presence of the 207 participants. ADC Ofelia Claudio, also a member of the TWG oriented the participants on the background/overview of the half-day activity.

Activity No. 02 – IEC For Government Officials and Employees in Tabuk Kalinga Kalinga

Opening Program

  1. The program started at exactly 9:00 AM.  The opening prayer followed by the singing of the Pamabansang Awit was given by LGOO V Rolando R. Gonzales, DILG TWG secretariat.  Assistant Provincial Director Julio J. Baracellano, DILG Kalinga, acted as EMCEE during the day’s proceedings.
  2. Provincial Director Francisco R. Gamatero of DILG Kalinga introduced/acknowledged the various groups of participants from the provincial, municipal, and barangay government units as well as guests and other participants that include college students and representatives from the academe and NGOs/POs.
  3. The Honorable Floydelia R. Diasen, Governor, Kalinga delivered the welcome message. In her speech, the Governor emphasized the diasenimportance of the Information, Education and Communication on Cordillera Development and Autonomy.  She started with a brief account of the historical milestones in pursuit of regional autonomy.  She said that congress passed two organic laws for the establishment of an Autonomous Cordillera but were rejected by the electorate on the ground that such laws were “self-diluted”.  She stressed the revival of the gains of autonomy founded on a well-defined gesture of governance.  She said that with the cordilleras sharing a rich cultural heritage, the region could not afford to let geography separate its people, its common way of life makes this impractical.  She said that the renewed dream of autonomy should not be seen therefore as a new form of tribalism but as part of a main principle in unity of diversity.  This moment, as part of the history of this region, we stand for a new frontier, the ample hopes and dreams for genuine autonomy and development and beyond this frontier are uncharted areas of unsolved problems of peace and order, injustice, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, and unsolved questions of development to address poverty which is now the number one problem in the country.  She added that each of these things has something to do with our gains for development and autonomy and hope that this consultation will serve as the defining moment to review what went wrong during the last two campaigns on autonomy.  Lastly, the governor congratulated and welcomed the DILG, NEDA, and NCIP as well as the participants in this noble endeavor and hoping for the regionwide success of the IEC towards regional development and autonomy.  She ended with “MATAGOTAGO TAKO LOSAN”, meaning long-lived the people of the Cordilleras.
  4. IntermissionAn intermission number dubbed as “dance towards regional development and autonomy” was rendered by the Kalinga State College Student Dance Group.
  5. ADC Ofelia L. Claudio, IEC TWG Member, DILG-CAR presented the Overview of the Activity.  She said that these series of activities are to be conducted regionwide for government officials and functionaries covering the six provinces and one highly urbanized city as well as regional line agency personnels in CAR.  These series of Information, Education and Communication for government officials and employees aims to:

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  • inform and educate all government officials and employees in CAR, on the constitutional provisions on autonomy in the Cordillera, and the RDCs Action Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy;
  • enlighten, clarify misinterpretations/ disinformation and correct distorted views on autonomy, and
  • gather feedback from government officials and employees on autonomy and RDC actions on the same, and submit the processed results to the RDC for its appropriate decision making.

In her presentation, she also mentioned the flow and methodology of the day’s activity, to wit:

  • Lecture-discussion
  • Open Forum
  • Ice Breakers

-         Ice Breakers

-         Random Raffle

-         Intermission Numbers

  • Pre and Post Evaluation

Ending her presentation, Ms. Claudio shared a maxim that “learning is a continuous process” if we follow the rules of the thumb:

Rule # 1.  Be open minded.

Rule # 2.  Please finish the forum/activity as government employees are governed by CSC rules and regulations.

A. Topic Presentations

Activity o1 – IEC For Regional Line Agencies Employees in Baguio City

Discussion of Topics:

The  topic,  RDC  Agenda  on  Regional  Development  and Autonomy was discussed by Actg. RDC Chair and NEDA Director Juan B. Ngalob.

The second topic, Root Causes Why the Organic Acts and Pursuit for Autonomy were Rejected was also discussed by Mr. Peter Dumaguing of DAR-CAR.

Intermission and others:

An intermission  number, a cultural  presentation was shown to the delight of the participants, courtesy of the students and teachers of the Pines City National High School, Pinsao Annex.

Pre-Activity and Post Activity evaluation was also done, through the joint efforts of TWG members Art Aro, Nards Andanan and Rodolfo Labarinto, all from the NEDA-CAR.

Surprises like raffles and door prizes were done in-between the different parts of the day activities, purposely to motivate and hold the attention of the participants.

An Open Forum was moderated by DC Benjamin Madariaga, the Chair of the TWG, followed by Synthesis, by Mr. Rodolfo Labarinto.

Informal dialogue with the speakers, participants and members of the media, including ambush interviews with the speakers, was also done after the closing of the IEC activity at 6:00 in the afternoon.

Issues and Concerns:

There were three participants who raised issues and problems.  All the raised issues/questions were answered, alternately, by the two speakers including the moderator.  These issues and problems are the following:

1)     “What are the steps and strategies the RDC will implement after the conduct of these series of IEC forums?”

The two lecturers reiterated and emphasized the various steps and strategies that the RDC will take to ensure that the people of Cordillera understand fully the meaning of regional autonomy.  These are a series of IECs at the LGU and community levels.  The crafting of the organic act will follow after ascertaining that everyone understood fully regional autonomy.

2)     “Of the three that Mr. Dumaguing gave as reasons why the previous organic acts were rejected, which is the lack of understanding of regional autonomy due to lack of time and resources to conduct information dissemination, what developmental mode of communication would the TWG, or the RDC for that matter, would implement to ensure an overwhelming approval of the next organic act?”

Dir. Ngalob answered that aside from the IEC there are other activities that will be done next year.  There will also be conducted a training of advocates. A Speakers Bureau will be formed that will include people like Mr. Dumaguing.  This team will help in the conduct of IEC.

3)     “What would be the right model of campaign that we will conduct in the future to ensure whole-hearted participation by our target participants? Judging from what happen today of which attendance dwindled from more than two hundred at the beginning to almost 30 at the end of the activity.”

The issue raised is about campaigning already for a yes vote but what is being done now are IECs to explain the meaning of regional autonomy because there is no organic act yet to talk about.

Again, the RDC Actg. Chairman narrated the various strategies that RDC plans to conduct next year which includes the training of people like the one who raised the issue, including the Provincial Directors of the DILG who will help conduct future IECs.  A backtracking survey will also be conducted to determine if we are already ready for a plebiscite.

4)     “In spite of the two presentations I say that looking on how Cordillera Administrative Region is being run and paralleled with the way ARMM is being run, too, I prefer to be under a Cordillera Administrative Region.”

Mr. Dumaguing presented the advantages if we are in an autonomous region, like the taxes that the region remits to the national government compared to what we receive from the national government.

Activity No. 02 – IEC For Government Officials and Employees in Tabuk, Kalinga

Topic

Presenter

  • RDC Agenda on Regional Development

& Autonomy

RD Juan B. Ngalob, NEDA-CAR & Acting Chairman, RDC-CAR
  • Autonomy and Local Governance
RD Patrick D. Onus, DILG-CAR
  • Autonomy and Indigenous People’s Rights
RD Amador P. Batay-an, NCIP-CAR

RDC Agenda on Regional Development & Autonomy

RD Ngalob presented the RDC Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy.  In his presentation, he explained that it consists of three parts, namely:

Part 1: Putting in Perspective the RDC-CAR Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy

Part 2: Highlights of the Baseline Survey on Cordillera Readiness for Regional Autonomy

Part 3: The RDC-CAR Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy 2008-2010

For the first part, the director explained the following:

  • The historical highlights of autonomy

25 February 1986

Corazon C. Aquino was catapulted to the Presidency.  She called for reconciliation with all revolutionary forces opposed to the government.  She later issued Proclamation No. 9, creating a Constitutional Commission (ConCom) to frame a new constitution to replace the 1973 Constitution.

13 September 1986

A “sipat” was performed between the CPLA and the Republic of the Philippines at Mt. Data Hotel in Bauko, Mt. Province as a first step towards peace talks in the Cordilleras.

Meanwhile the CPA carried out a persistent and sustained lobby among ConCom members to provide for a Cordillera autonomous region in the new constitution.

2 February 1987

The proposed constitution drafted by the ConCom was ratified in a plebiscite, making it the effectivity date of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.  It included provisions on the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras under Article 10, sections 15 to 21.

15 July 1987

President Aquino signed Executive Order No. 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with the following purposes: (1) administer the affairs of government in the region; (2) accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units of the region; (3) prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras

30 January 1990

RA 6766 (An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region) was overwhelmingly rejected in a plebiscite.  Only the province of Ifugao voted in favor of the Organic Act with  COMELEC issuing a ruling that Ifugao can constitute the autonomous region.  Ordillo, et. al. file a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the COMELEC ruling

4 December 1990

The Supreme Court (1) reversed the COMELEC ruling: the lone province of Ifugao cannot alone constitute the autonomous region and (2) declared that EO 220 is still in force and effect until properly repealed or amended.

9 March 1998

RA 8438, the second Organic Act enacted by Congress, is likewise rejected in a plebiscite by all other CAR provinces except Apayao.

15 June 2000

Atitiw, et. al. file a petition with the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Special Provision of the 2000 GAA (RA No. 8760) which in effect abolished the CAR bodies.

20 July 2000

Executive Order No. 270  – per GAA 2000 wind up operations of the CAR bodies (Cordillera Executive Board, Cordillera Regional Assembly and the Cordillera Bodong Administration), provided separation benefits for CAR bodies’ officers and employees.

30 July 2001

To address the vacuum in regional coordination arising from the de-activation of the CAR bodies, President Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 30 creating a Regional Development Council for CAR following a similar structure of the regular administrative regions in the country.

30 September 2005

The Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Atitiw, et. al., that ‘The (Supreme) Court is without authority to compel the Executive Branch to implement the provisions of E.O. No. 220 or to restore its budgetary allocation to its previous level” under the principle of separation of powers.

The Supreme Court further expressed the following prayer in its ruling: “It is hoped that Congress will pass another Organic Act which is finally acceptable to the people of the Cordilleras.”

  • The Regional Development Council

The highest policy-making body in the region and serves as the regional counterpart of the NEDA Board.

The primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of economic and social development efforts in the region.

Serves as a forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with national development activities.

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  • The relevance of EO 220 then with the creation of an RDC for CAR

  • The rationale for the renewed pursuit of Cordillera regional autonomy by the RDC-CAR

  • Steps being taken by the RDC for the renewed pursuit of Cordillera regional autonomy

  • The salient provisions in the 1987 Philippine Constitution related to establishing a Cordillera autonomous region

Sections 15-21, Article 10 (Local Government – Autonomous Regions) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution

For part 2: highlights of the Baseline Survey on Cordillera Readiness for Regional Autonomy, RD Ngalob discussed the following survey results:

  • Awareness of the Constitutional provision for the creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras
  • Awareness of the legislative powers being granted to the proposed Cordillera Autonomous Region
  • Awareness of EO 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Perception on the readiness of the region to assume functions currently being undertaken by the National Government as provided in the autonomy provision in the Constitution
  • Perception on the overall readiness of the region to assume responsibilities of an autonomous region
  • What  to do NOW to realize the creation of an autonomous region
  • How people will vote should a plebiscite be held TOMORROW to ratify a new Organic Act
  • How people will vote should a plebiscite be held TOMORROW to ratify a new Organic Act across provinces
  • Most likely reasons for a “Yes” vote

In conclusion, he made clear the following findings and recommendations:

Findings

Recommendations

  • Not yet time to work out an Organic Act
  • High level of unawareness on Constitutional provision for the creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras
  • Inadequate understanding of the substance of autonomy
  • Conduct intensive information dissemination  on regional development and autonomy

  • Work out a flexible program to gradually develop CAR’s capability to assume the 8-plus areas of governance to be devolved to the autonomous region
  • Develop regional, LGU and joint capacities to assume functional areas to be devolved in an autonomous set-up
  • Embark on closer coordination with Malacañang, NGAs and Congress for continued and increasing support to the Cordillera renewed efforts towards regional autonomy

For the third and final part of his presentation regarding The RDC-CAR Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy 2008-2010, RD Ngalob presented the following:

  • Strategy per finding towards the attainment of program thrust

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  • Program thrust objectives:

Program Thrust

Objectives

1:  Information, Education and Communication 1. To be informed and to understand the regional autonomy issue; and2.  To help define the kind of autonomy that is most appropriate and most acceptable to them
2:  Capacitation and Phasing-in of Prospective Regional Autonomy Implementors and Enablers 1. To phase-in and make them gradually assume the 8-plus areas of regional autonomous governance per Art. 10, sec. 20; 2.  To help them deliver services according to their respective responsibilities in the 8-plus areas and in accordance with people’s expectations; and3.  To help realize the regional growth strategy per CAR RDP to improve Quality of Life along the 8-plus areas.
3: Continuing engagement with Malacañang, NGAs and Congress
  1. To broaden, deepen and strengthen the baseline situational analysis by benchmarking the region’s capacity in the 8-plus areas of regional governance;
  2. To set up the monitoring and evaluation system to track the progress of the region in assuming the 8-plus areas of regional governance, and assess the effectiveness of RDC interventions; and
  3. To progressively decentralize from NGAs to CAR RLAs in preparation for regional autonomy devolution.
  • Major activities of the RDC-CAR agenda on regional development and autonomy 2008-2010, to wit:

Activity

Date

Result

Conduct of the RDC Strategic Planning Conference in Sagada and Bontoc, Mt. Province April 5-7, 2008 Adjusted and refined Agenda on Regional Development and Autonomy through PPA identification of the KFAs for regional development
Continuing engagement with Malacañang with submission of Progress Report on the RDC Special Autonomy Fund to Malacañang thru DBM and NEDA July 2008 Submission of 2009 budget proposal for the refined Work Program 2008-2010 of the Agenda for Regional Development and Autonomy
Conduct of the RDC Advisory Committee Meeting with CAR Congressmen August 27, 2008 Favorable acceptance of the Progress Report and inclusion of the Agenda budget in the 2009 NEP.  Suggestion of CAR Congressmen to have RA 8438 as basis for the Agenda’s IEC component.
Joint MOA signing for PPAs to be funded under the RDC-SAF October 9, 2008 Phasing-in of RLAS and partnering with certain LGUs formalized
  • EXPECTED 2009 WORK PROGRAM FEATURES
  • EMERGING ISSUES ON A 3RD ORGANIC ACT

Timing – when should the region embark on the endeavor

Approach and strategy – how shall the venture be started, who will undertake the same and what timetable to follow

Content – 2nd Organic Act (RA 8438) to serve as basic starting reference

  • What will regional autonomy mean to the Cordilleras?
  • Specific terms and conditions to establish a regional autonomous government:

People must be informed and convinced of the significance of the opportunity for regional autonomy through IEC.

People must be encouraged to join and participate in the crafting of a third Organic Act through wider grassroots and multi-sectoral consultations and representations.

People must be encouraged to join and participate in negotiating with Congress for the enactment of an Organic Act that will be acceptable to Cordillerans.

Regional Autonomy vis-à-vis Local Government Autonomy

RD Onus opened his presentation with a statement of the purpose of his topic, which is basically to:

  • identify and respond to some issues and concerns on regional iec - 3autonomy vis-à-vis local government autonomy; and
  • generate ideas and recommendations from the LGUs relative to the pursuit of regional autonomy.

He also mentioned some of the basic issues often raised on Regional Autonomy in relation to Local Autonomy, namely:

1) Will not regional autonomy weaken or diminish local government  autonomy?;

2)  Why the need for a regional government?  Will not a regional government be an unnecessary tier that will only duplicate functions and services of LGUs?; and

3) Are regional autonomy and local autonomy two different and distinct concerns to be pursued separately?

Concerning the first question, he discussed provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the autonomy of LGUs.  He pointed out that in fact the two organic acts to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region explicitly provide that nowhere shall they be construed as authorizing the diminution of the power and function already enjoyed by local governments.  On the contrary, he said, LGUs will not only continue to enjoy the powers granted to them under the Local Government Code but will exercise additional powers specified and devolved to them by the regional government.

For the second query, RD Onus explained that there are development needs and concern of the region that can be addressed by way of a regional government which may not be possible under the present government set-up.  He said a regional government is needed to:

-         To fast track in addressing development needs and concerns of the region; and

-         To provide general direction, leadership, and resources in pursuing a holistic, comprehensive, integrated, coordinated, synchronized, and harmonized development of the entire region.

He also said that this set-up will monitor, lessen as well as avoid duplication of powers, functions and services between the regional government and LGUs.

Finally, as regards the third issue, RD Onus emphasized that, for the region to holistically attain its objectives, regional autonomy should be pursued hand in hand with local autonomy.  The RDC itself has acknowledged the necessary interrelationships with its capacitation program to strengthen both the capabilities of regional offices and LGUs to assume functions to be devolved under the 8-plus areas of governance mentioned in Art. X, Sec. 20 of the Constitution.  He added that the capacitative program of LGUs has two dimensions;

1) Those that are introduced from outside forces/sources (External); and

2) Those that the LGUs are going to undertake thru their own initiatives (Internal).

This capacitative program will lead to:

1) Ensure that the pursuit of regional autonomy will not in fact set aside local autonomy;

2) Bring about complementarily and mutual reinforcement in efforts to promote both regional autonomy and local autonomy; and

3) Enlist the support of LGUs in the pursuit of regional autonomy, without which regional autonomy is bound to fail.

Autonomy and Indigenous Peoples Rights

RD Batay-an presented the IPRA vis-à-vis Regional Autonomy.  He started his presentation with the background of Self Government under the IPRA tackling the following:

A. The Four-Fold Rights

1. Right to Ancestral Domain/Lands

a. Native Title

b. Sec. 57 – Priority Rights

2. Right to Self Governance and Empowerment  (FPIC)
3. Social Justice and Human Rights
4. Cultural Integrity

B. Primacy of Customary Law and Practices in Conflicts Resolution

He said that Sec. 2 of the IPRA provides that the recognition and promotion of the rights of IPs shall be within the framework of national unity and development. This makes the IPRA a vehicle devoid of/deficient in iec4accessories and maintenance services. The IPRA, as a vehicle for the development of the IPs, must still operate within a political system that is too centralized. Policies and programs are decided, and standards are set all at the national level and applied nationwide. In this set up, the Cordillera Administrative Region always receives the losing end of the bargain. Why? More often than not the CAR constituencies do not meet the requisites of national standards. The peculiarities of the CAR, in terms of geography and as a homogeneous IP occupied territory, are not factored in the planning and standards setting of national government agencies.

He added that the only option towards genuine development is for CAR to become autonomous. Any other option would lead to consequences and repercussions that we would not want to experience again. Autonomy as the only legal option has basis in the Philippine Constitution itself. And the IPRA itself has committed the State to support an autonomous region in the Cordilleras. Sec. 14 states: “The State shall continue to strengthen and support the autonomous regions created under the Constitution as they may require or need.”

He further stressed that as IPs, we may have won partly our struggle for self-determination with the enactment of the IPRA. As Cordillerans, however, we must take one step further. Given our history, and our ethno-geopolitical configuration and character, the only way by which we can have our vehicle responsive and a utility for development is to become autonomous.

C. Open Forum

After the presentation of topics, the open forum commenced, moderated by DC Benjamin A. Madariaga, DILG-CAR explaining the following mechanics of the open forum:

-         State name, position, and from what institution or LGU

-         One issue/reaction can be asked with one follow-up question per participant

-         Issues and questions can be raised verbally or can be written to be submitted to the secretariat

At least fourteen (14) issues and concerns as well as comments were raised and shared by the participants, to wit: 

  • Hon. Victor Tanggawon, Punong Barangay, Pinukpuk Junction, Pinukpuk

Issue/Concern/ Recommendation/

Comment

Response

  • For the first reaction, PB Tanggawon shared his views on the how and why the previous organic laws were rejected. He said that during the past campaign on autonomy, there was no campaign or any information done in their area for that matter. He also pointed out the advantages of autonomy towards local development and volunteered to campaign for the approval of the third organic act.
In response, RD Ngalob also gave his views on why the first and second organic acts failed, saying this may be due to the lack of information, and dissemination done at the grassroots level.  He further explained that the activity we are conducting now is not a campaign on autonomy but it is more on the information, dissemination and education aspect of autonomy.

  • Mr.  Roberto Badii, SB Secretary Balbalan

  • The second reaction is a follow-up of the first observation.  Mr. Badii recommended that if the third plebiscite on autonomy will push through, he said that it is best that campaign funds should be downloaded to local officials as they are in the best position to inform and get the approval of their constituents within their area of responsibility.
In reply, RD Ngalob said that all suggestions and recommendations are recorded and well taken. He explained that in his presentation, one of the components of this IEC is the IEC on government officials and functionaries.  He said that this activity is a vehicle on how to cascade salient information on autonomy from the regional down to the grassroot level.  He also said that all recommendations will be reviewed for future inputs in this undertaking.

  • Jun Alsiyang faculty member of Kailinga State College

  • The third reaction was given by Jun Alsiyang, Faculty Member, KSC and CBS and CPLA member. said that, those who came here, whether they were regional directors or “papangat” in CAR  to talk  on Autonomy never mentioned that the region was established and given to us in preparation for an Autonomous Region therefore there was an inadequate information campaign.  He said that the battlecry for this IEC should focus or started with “the region was created in preparation for regional autonomy”.  Second, he brought out the issue on the annual spending of funds as well as ways or strategies so as not these funds will not be misused.  He further said that the outcome of votes if the third organic will push thru will largely depend on the proper utilization of the autonomy fund.
As a response, RD Ngalob thanked the participant for the well said observation. He pointed out that in terms of funding, the RDC is very transparent; he said that they can visit www.cordillera.gov.ph wherein they can witness and access all the actions of the RDC to include the budgeting and spending of the autonomy fund for 2007 and 2008. He added that for the 2009 budget it was not yet downloaded since project proposals were not yet submitted to DBM.  He also explained that the funds for the previous years were utilized in three ways: 1) It was utilized in the preparation and conduct of the IEC; 2) it was downloaded to other regional line agencies to implement PPAs as agreed by the RDC and the agency concerned; and 3) it is used in the continuous linkage and partnership with Malacañang, the Congress, and other national line agencies. He also assured the participants on what ever inputs and recommendations discussed here will be an input for the 2010 budget.

  • Jessy Martin, Faculty Member,  Kalinga State Collage

  • Does NCIP and DepEd had tied-up or forged linkages in coming up with a training module and learning lessons/activities incorporating indigenous knowledge/practices as well as funds for the integration of indigenous knowledge in the curriculum?
For the first query, the indigenization of curriculum, RD Batay-an said that they have been requesting private schools in the Cordilleras to have this be part of their program.  He said that for some private schools, especially in Baguio, some of these private schools have already created indigenous unit in their institution. This unit serves as the overall overseer in the integration of indigenous knowledge/practices in the school’s curriculum.  The Director further said that they are now also approaching the SUCs asking these schools to do the same without the need of any national policy.  He added that in order to inculcate or to integrate indigenous knowledge, practices, and customs in the curriculum there must be a national sanction for this matter,  Although, he said that teachers in the elementary, high school and  college run by the government, in their own initiatives, can utilize on what ever indigenous customs and practices in their area be use as part of their teaching material or strategy.  This is one way of indigenizing the curriculum. He also said that what ever concerns taken and agreed upon will be discussed with DepEd-CAR. RD Ngalob also gave an information in terms of partnering with the education sector, he said that some funds of the 2007 and 2008 budget were downloaded to DepEd and CHED to be used to fund the research on how to incorporate development and autonomy in certain subject/lessons of elementary, high school and college students.  He said that this contract between and among concerned stakeholders was rejected by the Sangguiang Panlalawigan of Benguet.  The Provincial Board said that the said subject can be taught to high school students but not in elementary.  He also informed the audience that they have to go back and further explained to the provincial board the importance of this undertaking to obtain their approval.

  • One of the barriers of the non-approval of the previous autonomy is the fact that the Cordillera is not really homogenous region, in the sense that there are non-cordillerans. 

How can we come-up with strategies that will not prejudice or marginalized these non-cordillerans, this is their anxiety in an Autonomous set-up.

For the second query, RD Batay-an answered by first distinguishing a Cordilleran to that of an IP.  He said that there are people who are not IPs but are Cordillerans, he added that under AO No. 2, the IRR of EO 220 defines Cordillerans as any body who has been a residence of the Cordillera for at least two years.  He further said that as far as autonomy is concern we are talking of Cordillerans, if IPRA, we are talking of IPs, whether you are a Kalinga, Bontoc, Tagalog, or Ilokano as long as you are an established bona fide resident in the region for at least two years you are a Cordilleran.
  • Unclear Administrative Structure in an Autonomous set-up?

Can we come up with an organizational structure that will serve as a guide for local officials?

What will happen to local officials, i.e. the congressmen, governors in an autonomous set-up?

In response to the issue on administrative structure, RD Onus said that one of the basic premises in pursuing regional autonomy, is to strengthen the capabilities of regional line agencies in preparation of absorbing the tasks and functions of the national government in an autonomous set-up. Another is to strengthen the capabilities of LGUs to be able to help in the pursuit of regional autonomy.  He added that strengthening the chances of regional autonomy goes hand-in-hand with strengthening local government autonomy.  They cannot be pursued separately.  He said that it is too early to campaign for a third organic act since the project is still at the point of gathering views and recommendations from LGUs for pursuing regional autonomy vis-à-vis local autonomy.  RD Onus also commented that one of the problems in the pursuit of local autonomy is that despite their powers and functions under the Local Government Code, many LGUs do not assert and practice such powers.  He said that the Local Code promotes local autonomy but in truth and in fact, most LGUs are not genuinely autonomous because they are still dependent on the decisions of the national government.  In relation to the organizational structure, he said that there is a need for restructuring to make it more responsive to the actual needs of the LGU.  This will lessen cases of overlapping and duplication of functions. RD Ngalob also added that in the crafting of the third organic act incorporating the organizational structure, he invited everybody to join and be part of the endeavor in a later stage i.e. the planning and crafting of the Third Organic Act.  He also imparted what transpired during the formulation of the last two organic acts and why was it rejected.  He said that based from the learnings of the previous experiences, the RDC suggested that conceptualization of the Third Organic Act should come first at the grassroot level, the principle should start in the villages or small group assembly leading to a provincial drafting conference and eventually towards a regional drafting summit.  The end result or the output will now then be forwarded to Malacañang.  He also informed the group that in the Second Organic Act, the organizational structure it composed of a regional governor, four regional legislature to be elected from each province to include the City of Baguio that will serve as the Regional Executive and Legislative structure.  As to the line agencies it is not yet clear but the assumption is that they will serve as the regional agencies,  as to how they will be organized it is not spelled out in that Act.  This concern will be discussed in next step (drafting of the Third Organic Act). For the third question relating to what will happen to our local officials in an autonomous set-up, RD Batay-an said that the provision on regional autonomy falls under Article X of the Constitution.  Article X speaks of two things: 1) Local Government; and 2) Autonomous Region for the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.  Under the Local Government of the Constitution we have the enabling act which is the Local Government Code of 1991 and this Code respects an Autonomous Regional set-up meaning organizational local structure from the Provincial down to the barangay will remain as is, it will not be disturbed.  Under the Constitution, our congressmen will still be present.  The approval of an Organic Act does not amend what is provided or required in the organizational structure under the constitution.   He further said that one challenge that is foreseen in this set-up is, how these local officials to include the congressmen can relate to that of the regional government.

  • PNP, Kalinga

  • What will become of the present PNP set-up in an Autonomous Regional form of government?
RD Onus explained that the PNP set-up in an Autonomous Regional form of Government depends on the next stage, the crafting of the Third Organic Act.  The concerns on peace and order will be discussed thoroughly and also the same with the other agencies.  He also said that for the case of PNP are we going to adopt the agency’s present set-up as PRO-COR or shall we adopt new initiatives that is independent from the national government.  He further pointed out that these concerns were very good inputs and we should be prepared in raising up these matter in the next stage of crafting the proposed organic act. RD Batay-an also added that at this point in time, the concerned agencies are to be invited especially the PNP to give inputs as to what peace and order scheme or system will be integrated in the proposed organic act. RD Ngalob also shared that in the case of PNP, it is a golden opportunity wherein PNP Cordillerans might want to strategize in a way that they can get the best of both worlds, meaning they can get the most or best scenario in both national or regional playing field.  Looking at section 21, he said that in crafting the peace and order provision of the act, it involves the national PNP and not solely the PRO-COR’s prerogative.

  • Jovie Alwad, Faculty Member, KSC

  • How could we have an economic development before we have an economic growth in case we adopt an autonomous region?

Cite the economic status of ARMM for better understanding/

perspective before adopting an autonomous region?

In response to the second query of Ms. Alwad, RD Ngalob informed the audience that part of the IEC program is a scheduled activity to engage to learn from the ARMM experience.  He said that in a few months, members of the RDC-CAR has planned a dialogue with USEC  Nabil A. Tan, Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Office of the Presidential  Adviser on Peace Process who is very much grounded on ARMM, from the beginning of its conceptualization to the present ARMM set-up. He also mentioned that part of this program is an intended mission to visit ARMM to first hand validate some reports like for instance “Is it true that DepEd teachers in ARMM were disenchanted because they can no longer borrow from GSIS because the ARMM Regional Government has not been remitting the premiums to the said institution?”  And if indeed this is true, how can we prevent the possibility of it happening in the event of a Cordillera Autonomous set-up. In the area of economic development to have economic growth, RD Ngalob comprehensively explicated not only the academic concept of economic development vis-à-vis economic growth but also stated the overall status of initiatives of what is happening in CAR in terms of economic maturity.  He said that economic development is more on the expansion of our economy.  He  further explained the concept by citing examples such as in the case of natural resources particularly on water, once  we developed mini-hydros and other hydro electric projects whether micro or large that is development.  The moment it started to produce output and this output gets to be sold in the market and they are reckoned in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in the GDP there is an increase over previous reported output then there is positive growth, this indicates that there is an economic growth.  In conclusion, he said that economic development and economic growth go hand-in hand.  Economic growth produces capital towards economic development but in the end, as the lady was saying, we should have first economic development before economic growth.  He added that it is a matter of perspective and thinking.  As far as the organic act is concern, the Director strongly support for the provision of start-up development capital which we are going to ask from the national government.  This start-up capital will fund important development programs in the region that will dramatically boost economic growth in the region.

  • Recommendation: to involved other sectors in the IEC on Regional Development and Autonomy

  • One of the participants who did not mentioned his name, opined that the two previous  organic acts failed due to the non-involvement of other sectors such as NGOs like CPA who are strong in the campaign towards the approval of a third organic act.
In reply to this suggestion, RD Ngalob informed the audience that as early as the Council renewed this pursuit for regional autonomy even before the budgeting and planning stage the CPA were invited and included in this endeavor.

  • Hon. Sonny Mangaoang, Municipal Mayor, Balabalan, Kalinga

  • The Honorable Mayor commented on the results of the survey on “How people will vote should a plebiscite be held TOMORROW to ratify a new Organic Act”, this boils down to the inadequate IEC or campaign on autonomy.  He suggested that in the IEC, fliers should be considered containing on how the CAR will become an autonomous region.  He added that fliers should be made based on the latest organic act vis-à-vis the present set-up which is the CAR.  He pointed out that part of the IEC material should also contained some of the experiences/lessons learned/or the present set-up of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao so as to give perspective or answer to the questions from the academe, concerned agencies like the PNP and the LGUs so that they know where they stand in case of a Cordillera Autonomous Region.

  • No. 2 suggestion, the Hon. Mangaoang proposed that in case there is a plebiscite on the third organic act it should not coincide with the national election as this will divide the focus of local officials and concerned stakeholders involved.  
RD Ngalob thanked the Mayor for the very good suggestion and said that these will certainly be considered.

  • Comments and suggestions in relation to the pursuit of regional autonomy

  • A representative from the Municipality of Balabalan gave his observations and comments regarding the pursuit of regional autonomy.  In his dialogue, he pointed out the following:
  1. Commitment and sincerity of local leaders to go for autonomy during the previous two organic acts is in question;
  2. The need to fasttrack the drafting of the third organic thru a regional drafting summit;
  3. The need to encourage all local officials to support the passage of the third organic so as not all efforts will not go to waste; and
  4. The answer to the issue on cultural diversity, development, and welfare of the masses will be realized thru autonomy.
As a response, RD Ngalob thanked the representative from Balbalan for his comments and suggestions.  In terms of contact with our Congressmen, he explained that our representatives in Congress have push thru the approval of our budget to be used in the renewal of our regional agenda.  It is a proof that they are very supportive not only to the financial requirements but as well as to the enactment of the third organic act.  He further gave details that at the end of the day, it is really the electorate who is going to make autonomy a reality.  Voters, accordingly, should be informed properly to make them understand fully the totatility of autonomy.  Convinced them that a regional autonomous form of government is a better preposition than the current situation this is thru, first, phasing in our regional line agencies to start operating and demonstrating that an autonomous set-up is the best option towards development.  It had just started along that line, next step is to phase-in the local government units in the process. Although, it already started in Ifugao in the area of fasttracking the implementation of IPRA but this is barely scratching the surface.  He further said that if we can only show our commitment and dedication as well as teamwork between and among concerned stakeholders to immediate fast track on the implementation of IPRA particularly on ancestral domain and ancestral land titling as these are the clamors in Ifugao, then we can showcased that these are the fruits and labors of an autonomous functioning.  A demonstration showing that a regional autonomous is a better option that needs a step by step process in order to have an “all or nothing output”.

  • Mr. Ancheta, Faculty Member, Kalinga State College

  • The issue on some degree of discrimination on non-IPs particularly in Kalinga.  Mr. Ancheta further elaborated that this discrimination is one big factor that hindered the ratification of the previous organic acts.  This issue is a factor why more affluent members of the non-IPs are transferring their assets outside of the region.  He said that, discrimination is happening because,  “nu non-IP ti makadangran ti miyembro ti IP ket nagdakkel ti multa na; nu IP ti makadangran ti miyembro ti non-IP, ayos lang”,  it is a fact that this occurrence is prevailing in our place.  He further appealed and requested that the plight of these non-IPs comprising a considerable populace should be considered in the drafting of the third organic act.

  • As a follow up reaction, Mr. Ancheta said that it is true that the non-Binodngan representatives in the council are respected but when it comes to the implementation of the “Bodong or Pagta” especially on the “multa” by experience it is unfair.
RD Ngalob told that this issue is indeed an eye opener for him and acknowledged the fact that even if he said that he did not feel any of this concern it is coming out that his information relative to discrimination is not that accurate.  He also thanked the proponent for the information and input.  It is also good that IPs in Kalinga is hearing of this sentiment and most probably this issue on social protection will be incorporated in the drafting of the third organic act. RD Batay-an also added that, this particular concern can be addressed by the “Matagoan Bodong Council” wherein non-IPs were invited here to participate in the prevention and mitigation of such issues. In conclusion, RD Batay-an said that this concern is well taken and be discussed during the Regional Peace and Order Council Meeting next week in Bontoc, Mt. Province.

  • Flawed content of the organic act (Written question)

  • The greatest factor that led to the rejection of the proposed Regional Autonomy is the flawed content of the organic act; The people of the Cordillera do not agree to some provisions of the charter, my suggestion is that, in order to win communities full support in the creation of an autonomous region, why not make amendments  in the provisions of the act, recognizing the claims of the cordillera communities.  The Third Organic Act would be more successful.
RD Ngalob as an answer said that in case we have a third organic act we will make sure that it is not flawed.  All concerned stakeholders will be invited to take part in the crafting of the said act.

  • Comment on corruption – Autonomy budget – PPAs provided (Written comment)

  • The Philippines is now ranked as one of the top most corrupt countries in Asia.  For as long as this will not be given solution, Cordillera proposed autonomous region will not be the answer for poverty alleviation, for surely, the same people will run the affairs of the autonomous government.

Gamitin na lang ninyo ang pondo para sa IEC on anti corruption campaign, we have already autonomy under the LGC.

As a rejoinder on the comment on corruption and the fund of IEC on Regional Development and Autonomy to be used instead for anti-corruption campaign, RD Ngalob explained that these funds were properly budgeted in the General Appropriations Act for the social preparation of the Cordillera to become autonomous.  The fund provides solely for this purpose, and if it is utilized for other purposes that is called Technical Malversation.  Technical malversation is one very bad example of corruption.  He further mentioned that this suggestion is in a way actually suggesting to do a corrupt act and we would advice that we will not do that.  The budgeted fund will be utilized on the intended purpose it served. RD Batay-an also pointed out that on the issue of corruption, it is high time that we look at ourselves and do not always look at government officials whom we think were corrupt.  Who put them in place.  It is us voters.  It is time to educate ourselves on how to become responsible voters.

  • Dependent on IRA – Are we ready? (Written question)

  • Apay, no ag autonomous tayo, kaya tayo ngata nga ipaay dagiti agdama nga programa ket agdepdepende tayo met ti IRA?
RD Onus reiterated that LGUs cannot be autonomous if they are purely dependent from outside sources for their financial requirements to  be able to implement their development programs in their respective areas of jurisdiction.  He also cited the result of the survey, specifically the question on “Are we ready for regional autonomy?” the answer is “no”,  which suggests that we have to strengthen first the capabilities of the region and the LGUs in terms of financial, administrative, managerial, technical, and legislative capabilities before we pursue a regional autonomous form of government.  He also believed that dependence on the IRA is one factor that will negate efforts to pursue a genuine regional autonomy.

D. Synthesis

Mr. Leonard K. Andanan, IEC-TWG Member, NEDA-CAR presented the summary of what transpired during the day’s activity.  He discussed the salient point of each topic, the issues and concerns, and some of the recommendations and inputs from the audience, to wit:

Summary

Topic

Issues and Concerns

Remarks

RDC – adopted     Regional Development & Autonomy in its Action Agenda Lack ofKnowledge & Awareness IEC Deeper Understanding A – assume

P – practice

E – exercise

Autonomy & Local Governance No conflict bet. Local & Regional Autonomy Complementarily &Mutual Reinforcement-strengthening of RLAs/LGUs/SUCs-to become more responsive to functions/service delivery
Autonomy & IP Rights No consideration of distinctive characteristics& unique settingof CAR RecognitionRight ofOwnershipRight to ParticipationDecision Making

Right to Determine & Decide Priorities for development

E. Closing Remarks

A representative from the provincial government gave the closing remarks in lieu of the Vice Governor who had an earlier official appointment.  A copy of the piece is hereto attached.

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