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PIA Press Release

RDC intensifies IEC campaign for CAR autonomy

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (29 November) -- The Regional Development Council is its pursuit for autonomy is adopting three strategies under the development phase to prepare the people and the region towards regional autonomy.

In a kapihan forum last week, Acting RDC Chairman and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Juan Ngalob explained that the RDC's present agenda in pushing for autonomy involves Information, Education and Communication (IEC), Capacity Building for partners in the regional line agencies, local government units and the private sector, and Continuing engagement with Malacaņang, national government agencies and Congress for the decentralization of powers.

According to Ngalob, the RDC decided to pursue these strategies in consideration of the results of the baseline survey on regional autonomy conducted in 2007 which indicates that Cordillerans have high level of unawareness on regional autonomy.

The IEC component seeks to inform and deepen the understanding of people on the autonomy issue and this would have different target groups. The IEC for the General Public will be spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency using print and broadcast media. An RDC Website on Autonomy, ph. has also been developed by the NEDA-CAR.

The Department of f Interior and Local Government (DILG) will handle the IEC for government offices and local government units.

For the IEC for the youth and the academe, the Department of education will handle the youth and the basic education sector, CHED for the College level and TESDA for the TEK-BOK students. Their projects involve the development of learning materials on Cordillera autonomy to be incorporated in selected subjects.

There is also an IEC for alternative focus multi-sectoral groups such as indigenous peoples/indigenous cultural communities and established community aggrupations and mechanism. Under the IP/ICC, a capacitation training for Council of Elders of the Tingguian TYribes of Abra and the Land Summit in Ifugao were already undertaken.

Dir Ngalob explained that the constitution, through Article 10, "gives us the constitutional mandate to pursue regional autonomy", "the issue here is not a matter of convincing the people of Cordillera on autonomy, but to make the people aware that this is a fact" and "our dream for autonomy may not happen now in our time, though we still owe it to the future generations to make them aware".

"As a Constitutional mandate, this is an opportunity we must avail of", Ngalob said even as he stressed that the RDC efforts for now are confined on the development phase under the three startegies relegating the political phase of drafting an organic act to later times.

In the same forum, DepEd Director Benito Tumamao said they will approach it in terms of lessons in the classrooms and they will also conduct dialogues/trainings with teachers and other school officials regarding the matter.

DepEd Elementary Education Division head Modesta Bastian, announced that they already came out with a lesson guide for the integration of Regional Autonomy and Development to Social Studies and English subjects of Grade 4 to 6 and high school students. They are now trying out the lesson guide for finalization then they will be training teachers on how they will integrate this learning guide and hopefully it will be implemented next school year.

For CHED-CAR, Dr. Virginia Akiate said their participation is on the writing of some module for the integration of the subject matter to the Philippine Government t & Constitution and Philippine History college subjects. The University of the Philippines already came out with the first draft of 6 modules, which will now be evaluated by Social Studies educators before it will be pilot-tested in about six higher education institutions before the end of December, Akiate added.

According to Marlene Necessito of TESDA, they already identified about 23,000 Tek-Bok students, as primary targets, for whatever autonomy educational materials that CHED will finalize.

Dir Ngalob calls on all Cordillerans to discuss the agenda for regional development and autonomy among themselves, friends, colleague, groups, and organizations to will help push for the region's aspirations and development. (PIA) [top]

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