The planned grassroots consultation on autonomy in Benguet suffered a momentary setback when the P1 million fund earmarked for the campaign failed to reach the province in time for a scheduled meeting in Ampusongan, Bakun.
Gov. Nestor Fongwan last week said the National Economic Development Authority did not release the requested fund pending the liquidation of previous expenses.
“So we have to postpone the scheduled meeting in Bakun and probably the next one in Tublay,” he said.
Provincial and municipal officials were banking on the grassroots consultation to enlighten municipal and barangay officials on House Bill 5595 that sought the establishment of an autonomous regional setup.
The rationale is that with local officials enlightened, they would be able to drum up support for the bill or enlighten their constituents on the advantages and disadvantages of the bill.
Municipal officials told a consultation at the capitol that majority of their constituents are still in the dark as to the proposed bill.
Itogon Vice mayor Noel Ngolob said the prospects of autonomy gaining approval in Benguet depends to a large extent on how well informed the citizenry is on HB 5595.
He said the province should come up with a panel of speakers who are for and against the project that should be able to provide the information that people wanted to know on the proposed bill.
Tuba Vice mayor Clarita Salongan said most of her constituents are not well informed on the bill and are unclear on its purpose.
Atok Mayor Peter Alos said there was need for the people to know what the law is all about so they could come up with a consensus.
Mankayan Vice mayor Paterno Dacanay said a lot of his constituents do not understand what the bill is all about, hence the need for an information campaign.