SAGADA, Mountain Province – Organizers of the 35th founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) kick-off program in this mystical town are eyeing Senator-elect Robin Padilla to be guest of honor and speaker during the program that will be held on Friday, July 1, 2022.
However, the senator will not be personally attending the said occasion because of his equally important commitments in the Senate, especially that it is his first day of work after having assumed the said post, although he will be sending his recorded message aside from assuring the Cordillerans that he will visit the region once all his important activities shall have been put in place in the coming months.
Senator Padilla has been the overwhelming choice of Cordillera leaders and private sector representatives to be this year’s guest of honor and speaker because of his hardline position in favor of federalism and his earlier commitment to help in advancing the region’s renewed quest for autonomy in the upcoming 19th Congress.
The theme of this year’s founding anniversary program is One Autonomous Cordillera: Ensuring Social Development and Inclusive Growth in the New Normal.
At around 6 to 8:30 am of July 1, 2022, officials of the Regional Development Council in the Cordillera (RDC-CAR) and private sector representatives will be participating in a ceremonial tree planting near the St. Mary’s School, Inc. compound.
Cordillera leaders will be joining Senator Loren Legarda in giving their solidarity messages to the people in the celebration of the region’s founding anniversary that will fire off in the municipality and will conclude in Baguio City on July 15, 2022.
RDC-CAR officials, private sector representatives and guests will be participating in a cultural and heritage tour in the municipality after the conduct of the kick off program.
On September 13, 1986, the late President Corazon C. Aquino representing the Philippine government and the former rebel priest Conrado Balweg representing the Cordillera Bodong Administration – Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) entered into the traditional ‘sipat’ or the exchange of peace tokens that paved the way for the signing of the historic Mount Data peace agreement.
On July 15, 1987, she issued Executive Order (EO) No. 220 that created the CAR bringing together the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City from Region I and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region II as one the initial steps towards the establishment of the much-desired autonomous region.
Under the said order, the three major functions of the CAR was to administer the affairs of the national government in the region, to accelerate the socio-economic development of the region and more importantly, to prepare the region for autonomy.
However, the two previous attempts to establish the autonomous region were overwhelmingly rejected by the people because the first Organic Act was allegedly watered down in Congress while the second Organic Act did not have enough time to undergo the mandated information and education campaign although it was a far improvement from the first one.
In 2006, the RDC-CAR embraced autonomy as its overarching agenda for growth and development that led to the drafting of a number of proposed autonomy bills that were submitted to Congress for approval but the same only was passed by the committee level in the House of Representative while its Senate counterpart had been pending in the committee level.