Bill institutionalizing July 15 as special holiday in CAR filed

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap recently filed House Bill (HB) 7089 that seeks to declare July 15 of every year a special non-working holiday in the whole Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in the commemoration of its founding anniversary.

“We are one with the people of the Cordillera in the celebration of its 33rd founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region. Declaring July 15 of every year as a special non-working holiday in the whole region will allow the Cordillerans to celebrate and honor the region’s achievements and struggles over the past several decades. This celebration is a reminder of our humble beginnings as community,” Congressman Yap stressed.

With the region’s shared aspirations and combined efforts, the lawmaker pointed out that the Cordillerans succeeded in overcoming numerous challenges to achieve what the region is now today.

He claimed that this year’s theme “One Resilient Cordillera, Embracing the New Normal Towards Recovery’ clearly reflects the region’s strength in braving the unknown to secure the safety and well-being of the people based in the different provinces comprising the CAR.

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According to him, in the midst of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic, the region’s efforts were directed in ensuring that no one is left behind, especially in terms of providing the relief assistance and delivering medical services to those in need in far flung areas.

Congressman Yap asserted that during the difficult times, the people had witnessed how self-reliant and self-resilient Cordillerans are thus it is important for the region to aspire to reflect, through appropriate policies and programs, the strength of the people of the region.

With the passage of the proposed bill, Congressman Yap stipulated that the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera will no longer have to annually request the Office of the President to issue the necessary proclamation declaring July 15 every year as a special non-working holiday in the CAR, and regardless of which administration, it will be institutionalized that every July 15 is a special non-working holiday in the whole region.

He assured stakeholders he will follow-up the immediate passage of the proposed bill from the concerned House committee where the same will be referred for calendaring for committee hearings and plenary debates once Congress resumes its regular session by July 27, 2020 after President Rodrigo R. Duterte shall deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the Filipino people.

CAR was founded on July 15 after former President Corazon C. Aquino signed into law Executive Order (EO) No. 220 that brought 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 Region.

The issuance of the aforesaid EO was an offshoot of the signing of the historic peace agreement between the Philippine government then headed by the former President and Cordillera Bodong Administration–Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) led then by former rebel priest Conrado Balweg on September 13, 1986.

By Hent
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos

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