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PIA Press Release

Reflect on timing of pushing for autonomy, advises Gov. Baguilat

by Lito Dar

Lagawe, Ifugao (27 June) -- "Definitely a plebiscite for autonomy, at this point of time or even before 2010 is not advisable, we need a more intensive information drive and maybe not only for our politicians to understand autonomy but also for the different sector in our society". This was the statement of Ifugao governor Teddy Baguilat, in a press conference during the "Gotad ad Ifugao" Festival last June 19.

According to Baguilat, we have to reflect deeply on the timing of pushing for autonomy. He does not want to push for a plebiscite if we are not sure that all of the six provinces of Cordillera and Baguio City will vote yes for autonomy. "It is inconceivable to think of an autonomous Cordillera region if there is even one province who will vote against it because that defeats the essence of Cordillera as a region," he said.

"Maybe we should not have just a survey of perception of the Cordillera (as a whole) but also per sector and per province. Maybe by the time that we have a critical mass of people who knows what autonomy is really all about, that is the time that we should push for a plebiscite because if we push for a plebiscite right now, I am sure that it will be a third failure."

"We speak on different voices, if you ask all the governors of Cordillera, they will say yes (to autonomy), but if you ask us to explain what kind of autonomy, we have different level of information." Baguilat added.

The governor said he supports good governance and ethical leadership. He believes that autonomy will definitely help in bringing additional resources, aside from the Internal Revenue Allotment share and taxes collection of local government units, but it will still depend on the matter of using these available resources in the right way. If leaders are not transparent and not good managers of government, it (IRA & taxes) will just go to waste," he said.

On the Cordillera watershed issue, Baguilat wants to push through with the advocacy to have the national government and the users of our national patrimony (resources whether mining, watersheds or water) pay us, to have them give the due benefits to the people of the Cordilleras for the use of our resources.

"We have to prove that we speak in one voice, that we have the political will to fight for this rights and if we succeed in getting this royalties paid to us then that is already an indication that we are more united, we are stronger and more politically matured and we can govern ourselves as an autonomous region," Baguilat added. (PIA) [top]

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