TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) and the unified command of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) will be celebrating the 31st anniversary of the historic Mount Data ‘sipat’ which was entered between former President Corazon C. Aquino and the late rebel priest Conrado Balweg that put an end to the armed struggle of the group in the region with simple but meaningful activities in Camp Balweg, here, Wednesday.
Engr. Andres Ngao-i, CBA president, said the celebration will also be a chance for the members of the CBA-CPLA to renew their commitment and unwavering support to the region’s renewed quest for autonomy towards federalism pursuant to the 26-point demand of the group during the negotiations that resulted to the signing of the historic peace agreement.
“We want to show our detractors that our group is still intact amidst the divisions that it underwent over the past several decades and we are supportive of the renewed quest for autonomy which is also being given a chance by the present administration,” Ngao-i stressed.
The CBA official said the group is still looking for speakers from government agencies to help them send a clear message to the higher authorities that peace and development through autonomy towards federalism is their primordial aspiration because autonomy advocates value the present and future generations of Cordillerans who will be the ones to reap the fruits of self-governance and self-determination.
According to him, it is unfair for some sectors to continue having a negative perception on the overall image of the group because its present leadership is now doing its best to improve its standing in the region to help in the snowballing clamor for autonomy towards federalism.
While it is true that there are some factions who continue to insist on other things that should be prioritized by the CPLA, Ngao-i claimed it was the decision of the majority of the CPLA leaders to unite and work hard to improve the image of the group from the bad perception of the public because of the alleged involvement of its former leaders in various questionable activities and transactions.
He said disgruntled members of certain factions should join the bandwagon and support the region’s renewed quest for autonomy because the achievement of an autonomous region in the Cordillera will be their legacy for the present and future generations.
Abra Vice governor and unified CPLA chairman Ronald Balao-as said that the celebration of the 31st anniversary of the historic Mount Data peace agreement will serve as a reminder to the Cordillerans to value the efforts of ancestors who sacrificed their lives to gain recognition from the government, especially on their clamor for autonomy.
Balao-as rallied all CBA-CPLA officers and members to join the historic celebration and be counted in the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy because autonomy is viewed as the one that will propel the robust economic growth and move the people out from the shackles of poverty.
The ‘sipat’ was the prelude to the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region by virtue of the issuance by former President Corazon C. Aquino of Executive Order (EO) No. 220 on July 15, 1987 that brought together Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City from Region I and Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region II as one administrative region.