BAGUIO CITY – Malacanang recently declared Wednesday, September 13, 2023 as a special non-working holiday in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to allow the Cordilleran’s to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the historic ‘sipat’ or the exchange of peace tokens between the government and the Cordillera Bodong Administration – Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) held on September 13, 1986 at the Mount Data hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province.
Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin, by authority of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., issued Proclamation No. 324, series of 2023 that declared the special non-working holiday in the CAR as it is but fitting for the people be given full opportunity to actively participate in the historic occasion.
On September 13, 1986, former President Corazon C. Aquino entered into a ‘sipat’ or exchange of peace tokens with the CBA-CPLA headed by the late Fr. Conrado Balweg that resulted to the cessation of hostilities between government forces and the armed personnel of the said group paving the way for the retaliation of lasting peace in the Cordillera.
Further, the exchange of peace tokens also caused the government to acknowledge the aspirations of the Cordillerans for regional autonomy.
On September 13, 2023, the office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unification (OPAPRU) and the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera will be hosting the conduct of various activities at the Mount Data hotel to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the historic event in the history of the (CAR)
On July 15, 1987, President Aquino signed Executive order (EO) 220 when she was exercising both her executive and legislative powers under the former revolutionary government that created the CAR bringing together the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain province and Baguio City from the Ilocos Region and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from the Cagayan Valley. On February 14, 1995, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed Republic Act (RA) 7878 that separated Kalinga-Apayao into two independent provinces, Kalinga and Apayao. On June 24, 2007, RA 9404 took effect that converted the former Tabuk municipality into Tabuk City which is a component city of Kalinga and became the second city in the Cordillera.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House committee on national cultural minorities and indigenous peoples, underscored that the clamor for the establishment of an autonomous region remains strong among Cordillerans that is why all the congressmen from the different parts of the region are united in aggressively lobbying for the immediate passage of the proposed autonomy law in congress for the same to be signed by President Marcos, Jr.
CAR attempted to achieve autonomy through the enactment of the Organic Act under RA 6766 on January 30, 1990 but the same was overwhelmingly rejected by most of the provinces and city, except for Ifugao and RA 8438 on March 7, 1998 which was also overwhelmingly rejected except for Apayao.
All Cordillera congressmen authored House Bill (HB) 3267 which seeks to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region which has been approved by the House committees on local government and ways and means and is now pending approval by the House committee on appropriations before it will be submitted to the House committee on rules for the scheduling of plenary debates.