Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 05:56:41 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <>
From: Steven Rood at ARD, Inc. <srood@MNL.SEQUEL.NET>
Subject: FWD: PH: Cordillera Autonomy Defeated
Comments: To: Elliott Parker <3ZLUFUR@CMUVM.CSV.CMICH.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list SEASIA-L <>

Militants seek real autonomy for Cordillera

By Alfred Dizon with Joya Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 March 1998

BAGUIO CITY 96 Despite the rejection of the organic act creating the Cordillera Autonomous Region, autonomy for the region will rise from the dead, a top Cordillera official said.

Militant groups which opposed Republic Act 8438 also called for the creation of a genuine regional autonomy that would benefit Cordillerans.

The death of RA 8438 was sealed with the release of final official plebiscite results by the regional Commission on Elections on Wednesday.

The official results: 20

Abra, 22,684 (yes), 39,897 (no);20
Apayao, 23,201(yes), 7,741 (no);20
Baguio City, 19,205 (yes), 114,043 (no);
Benguet, 15,345 (yes), 69,823 (no);20
Ifugao, 16,417 (yes), 18,476 (no);
Mountain Province, 16,154 (yes), 25,982 (no); and 20
Kalinga, 21,841 (yes), 25,631 (no).

Concerned groups also asked local officials here to account for the P30- million fund supposedly used for the information campaign on Cordillera autonomy.

Sergio Kawi, chair of the Cordillera Regional Assembly, said there is still hope that it (autonomy) will materialize as Apayao, which overwhelmingly voted for the organic act, may compose the autonomous region.

Kawi said CRA, the highest policy making body in Cordillera, will petition the Supreme Court to rule that one province could compose an autonomous region.

Once the Supreme Court will make Apayao the autonomous region, then other province which voted against RA 8438 may join the autonomous region once they will see the benefits they will see the benefits they will get, he said.

RA 8438 has stipulated that the autonomous region will get T35 billion in budget allotments from the national government for the first 10 years.

That (money) may be water under the bridge but it is worth trying, Kawi said.

He said the Supreme Court ruled earlier that two provinces may compose an autonomous region during the ratification of RA 6766, the first proposed organic act for the Cordillera in 1990.

It may reverse its decision and rule that one province could compose an autonomous region, he said.

During the 1990 plebiscite, Baguio City and all Cordillera provinces, except Ifugao, voted for RA 6766.

The Cordillera People's Alliance, which campaigned for a no vote or a boycott of the plebiscite, said the Cordillerans rejected a bogus autonomy law and not the right to exercise genuine autonomy.

Although the battle was won, the war is far from over. A genuine regional autonomy would uphold people's rights over their ancestral land and upgrade control, management and development of resources, the CPA said.

Joan Carling, CPA secretary general, said accounting of the P 30-million information fund is necessary especially after the group received reports that most of the group received reports that most of the money was used to bribe tribal folk to vote in favor of autonomy.

Reports reaching here said in Barangay Bangaan in Sagada town and in Barangay Gonogon, in Bontoc town, pigs were donated by local officials and were butchered a day after the yes vote won there.

Kawi said people are now questioning where politicians spent the P30-million autonomy information fund. To date, not one official has liquidated the P4 million allotted to each local government unit, he said.