President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, July 18, met with leaders from Cordillera to discuss autonomy and issues confronting the region.
Representing the leaders from Cordillera region, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said they came to Malacañang to meet with the President and to raise three major issues.
The first issue, according to Domogan, is regional autonomy. He told President Duterte that the Cordillera people are united in pursuing autonomy.
Domogan asked the President to certify House Bill No. 5343 as urgent.
The proposed measure is supported by all of the representatives of the seven congressional districts of Cordillera, according to Domogan, noting that the bill is the future of their region and the hope for their children.
He also requested for the continuation of the implementation of the Cordillera road infrastructure program. As of 2017, Domogan said 183.3 kilometers of road in the Cordilleras are not yet paved.
Domogan said the national roads still need P3.74 billion allocation while the local roads need P1.47 billion, noting that he asked the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Another issue discussed by Domogan was the modernization of the Loakan Airport. He said Cordillera leaders want the modernization of the only airport in the region as it is important for trade, agriculture, and tourism.
He also stressed that the airport is an important infrastructure for Baguio City-manufactured export products and a critical lifeline during disasters as well.
In response, President Duterte said the long occupation by colonial powers, in addition to the adoption of the unitary type of government, resulted in uneven development of the Philippines.
The President said he believes a federal setup will correct this inequality and eventually make the country progressive. He also warned that if the aspirations of the Muslim Filipinos are neglected, the country will never achieve peace.
With regard to the request for infrastructure, the President said they have to work and coordinate with DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.###PND