BANGUED, Abra – The province of Abra conducted three major events on autonomy that reached over 5,000 people from March 21 to 23 with former rebels to young students supporting the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy. These events were conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority Cordillera (NEDA-CAR) in partnership with the provincial government of Abra and the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army (CPLA).
The CPLA led by its Chairman and Abra Vice-governor Ronald Balao-as celebrated the galigad ritual on March 21 which reaffirmed the 1986 sipat peace pact between the Philippine government and the CPLA witnessed by over a thousand Cordillerans with Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza representing the government side.
An IEC on autonomy was conducted in the afternoon with students and teachers of Abra treated to an afternoon of music, culture and learning at the 6th autonomy concert-forum in the Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASIST) gymnasium on March 22.
The Cordillera Connection (TCC) band continued their advocacy performance by playing songs of cultural pride and unity with Vladimir Cayabas reprising his role as autonomy expert and host of the event.
The municipal training of autonomy IEC speakers with leaders from the barangay and municipal levels was conducted on March 23 in the provincial capital with Cayabas served as resource person and attended by 25 officials from the 5 municipal governments of Bangued, Bucay, Lagangilang, Manabo, and Peñarrubia.
The training aimed to increase the capability of local leaders to spread awareness and gain support for regional autonomy and the leaders agreed to spread the message of autonomy to their constituencies.
More activities are lined up to boost awareness and support to autonomy in Abra based on the communication plan which considered the province as the number one geographical priority per the 2017 pulse survey results.
By Marlo Lubguban