BAGUIO CITY — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said here Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte recognized the Cordillerans’ call for autonomy and urged them to support a Charter change that would shift the present form of government to federalism.
In a message at the opening day of the 23rd Baguio Flower Festival or “Panagbenga” here, Roque said the President vowed to listen and study the sentiments of the city’s populace and the whole of Cordillera in coming up with an autonomy law, which provided for self-governance under a federal system of government.
“Ang mensahe ng Presidente ay makapagpatuloy po tayo sa Charter change papunta sa federalism (The message of the President is to go for a Charter change towards federalism),” Roque said.
Roque pointed out that under a federal form of government, local government units, such as the Cordillera, would have more power in managing the region’s rich natural and mineral resources.
He said the President was also looking at the clamor of the Cordillera for autonomy. “Pinakikinggan at pinag-aaralan po ng ating Pangulo ang hinihingi ng rehiyon na magkaroon ng autonomiya,” he said, adding if it was possible to have a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) under a federal state, then Cordillera autonomy was possible as well.
In his speech, Roque outlined the priorities and achievements of the Duterte government, as well as the gains of the people under it, such as the free tertiary education in all state colleges and universities across the country.
In recognition of Cordillera’s contribution to the country’s economy, especially in the production of temperate vegetables and cut flowers, Roque said the President was about to sign a law that would give free irrigation system to farmers.
Roque said that true to the President’s promise in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Malacañang was now urging the House of Representatives to fast-track the passage the proposed universal health care law, which aimed to give free medicines and medical check-ups to all Filipinos.
He was the guest speaker at the opening day of “Panagbenga,” with the theme “Celebration of Culture and Creativity” this year.
Hundreds of people attended the parade held at the refurbished Baguio Athletic Bowl. PNA-northboundasia.com