BAGUIO CITY – The Office of the President declared Monday, July 16, 2018 as a special non-working holiday in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) composed of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and the cities of Tabuk and Baguio City for the people to enjoy the celebration of the region’s 31st founding anniversary.
Proclamation No. 536 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea on July 12, 2018 stated that it is but fitting and proper that the people of CAR be given full opportunity to celebrate and actively participate in the celebration of the region’s founding anniversary with fitting and appropriate ceremonies.
Earlier, the Regional Development Council – Cordillera (RDC-CAR) requested that the Office of the President to declare Monday, July 16, 2018 as a special non-working holiday in the region instead of July 15, 2018 which falls on a Sunday to allow the people of the region to enjoy the various activities that were lined up by the organizers for the week-long celebration.
CAR was founded on July 15, 1987 when former President Corazon C. Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. 220 when she was then exercising both executive and legislative powers under a revolutionary government.
Under Batas Pambansa Bilang 1, the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City were formerly part of Region I or the Ilocos Region while the provinces of Ifugao and the then Kalinga-Apayao were with Region II or the Cagayan Valley Region.
The establishment of the CAR which was aimed at administering the affairs of government in the region, accelerating the socio-economic growth of the region and preparing the region for autonomy was an offshoot of the historic Mount Data peace agreement signed by former President Aquino and the Cordillera Bodong Administration – Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) that ended decades of hostilities between the government forces and the armed rebels.
CPLA fighters had been struggling against the efforts of the government to ravage the region’s protected areas specifically the logging of over 200,000 hectares of forested areas and the put up of the controversial Chico dam that could have resulted to the submerging of low-lying communities along the region’s major river system.
The Ifugao provincial government led by Gov. Pedro G. Mayam-o and the RDC-CAR development administration committee will be the prime movers of the region’s 31st founding anniversary activities that started with the week-long Unity Gong Relay which started in Banaue, Ifugao last July 9, 2018 and will end up in Lamut, Ifugao on July 14, 2018 prior to the CAR founding anniversary main program which will be held on July 15, 2018 at the Don Bosco gymnasium in Lagawe, Ifugao. Local officials, private sector representatives and concerned stakeholders from the different parts of the region will converge in Lagawe, Ifugao on July 15, 2018 to renew their commitment to the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy vis-à-vis the plan of the present administration to shift from the present unitary system to federal form of government considering that autonomy is viewed as the one that will move people out from the shackles of poverty because of the optimum utilization of the region’s resources with lesser restraint from outside forces.
By DEXTER A. SEE