BAGUIO CITY – Hundreds of peace advocates and tribal leaders from the different parts of the region will converge in the city on November 13-14, 2017 to discuss pressing peace concerns and issues related to the upliftment of the rights of indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities that must be given immediate attention by the concerned government agencies.
Lawyer Roland P. Calde, regional director of the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR), said that the 2-day activity that will be done in coordination with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is aimed at soliciting from the concerned stakeholders IP and peace issues and concerns which were sidelined in the past and must be given priority attention by the government to sustain the realization of lasting peace in the region.
Further, he added that included in the agenda during the Cordillera Peace Convenors forum will be an assessment and evaluation of the provisions of House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish an autonomous region in the Cordillera to ascertain whether or not there are still IP concerns that were left out so that appropriate recommendations could be done to the concerned Cordillera congressmen to input such concerns to the final provisions of the bill.
“We are optimistic that we will be able to gather the active participation of our veteran peace advocates and tribal leaders from the different parts of the region so that they will be able to provide the appropriate inputs relative to peace and IP issues that have not yet been given the needed attention by the government for us to be able to drum beat the same and put things in their proper perspective,” Calde stressed.
Expected to attend the gathering are officials of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA), Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) and local officials and tribal leaders from the different tribes in Benguet, Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Ifugao, Montain Province and Baguio City.
NCIP Commissioner for the Cordillera and Region Basilio Wandag and OPAPP representatives will also be present during the 2-day activity in the city for them to be able to bring to the attention of concerned government agencies peace concerns and IP issues that were not given attention over the past several decades.
The CBA and CPLA were instrumental in the realization of lasting peace in the region when former rebel preist Conrado Balweg and former President Corazon C. Aquino entered into the historic Mount Data ‘sipat’ that paved the way for the exchange of tokens between the concerned parties that resulted to the virtual end of the armed struggle.
Calde urged peace advocates and IP leaders from the different parts of the region to actively participate in the important gathering so that the government will be updated on peace concerns and tribal issues that must be effectively and efficiently addressed by the agencies that must act on such issues that will be raised during the event.
He said that there will surely be a healthy exchange of ideas among the participants so that doable, realistic and time-bound suggestions and recommendations could be reached for the reference of concerned officials that need to act on the issues and concerns.