Dureza a big loss to Cordi bid for autonomy

Cordillera leaders branded the untimely resignation of Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza as a big loss to the realization of the region’s quest for the establishment of the long overdue Autonomous Region in the Cordillera (ARC) which he had been championing since he assumed the said post over two years ago.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who chairs the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR), pointed out that the Cordillera was orphaned by the resignation of Secretary Dureza from his post because his departure from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) will have a serious negative impact on the on-going lobbying being done by Cordillera leaders for the inclusion of the Cordillera autonomy issue to the President’s Legislative Agenda (PLA) and the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) of both chambers of Congress aside from the lobbying being done for the issuance of a certification from the Office of the President that the pending autonomy bills in both Houses are priority administration measures.

“We believe that Secretary Dureza was just a victim of circumstances because he is known to be a straight forward and dedicated public servant. His record in government service has never been tarnished by issues on corruption but it just so happened that he was a victim of circumstances that prevailed in his office,” Domogan stressed.

On July 14, 2018, the Cordillera adopted Secretary Dureza as a son of the region and was given the name ‘mensapit’ or peacemaker because of his advocacy on the completion of the government’s peace initiatives in the south through the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the ARC for the north.

Secretary Dureza was also instrumental in arranging the first-ever meeting of some 120 leaders from the Cordillera with President Rodrigo R. Duterte in Malacañang on July 18, 2018 where the Chief Executive assured the certification of the pending autonomy bills as urgent administration measures.

Kalinga Rep. and Mountain Province caretaker congressman Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said Cordillera lawmakers, who are all authors of House Bill (HB) 5343 that seeks to establish the ARC, were saddened upon learning of the sudden resignation of the region’s reliable and trusted bridge to the Office of the President, Secretary Dureza,

“We certainly lost a guardian angel who sustained his commitment to champion our renewed quest for autonomy. We hope that the one who will replace him will be receptive to our clamor for autonomy similar to what had been achieved by Secretary Dureza,” Rep. Mangaoang stressed.

Mangaoang expressed optimism that the best for the Cordillera is yet to come even with the serious setback suffered by the region’s quest for autonomy because Cordillera lawmakers will now strive to work out the deliberations of HB 5343 in the House committee on local government while efforts are being done to lobby its deliberations in the Senate committee level for the pending bills to have a clear direction when opened for debates. - Dexter A. See