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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Cordillera Bodong Administration–Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) lauded the commitment of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez, Jr. reaffirming the support of the Office of the President on the region’s quest for autonomy and the eventual closure of the historic Mount Data ‘Sipat’ or exchange of peace tokens leading towards lasting peace in the north.
CBA chairman Engr. Andres Ngao-i pointed out that the Mount Data ‘Sipat’ is the only peace agreement in the country that passed through the ‘Codong,’ one of the established indigenous practices in the Cordillera, between the involved parties, the Philippine government and the CBA, without the intervention of a third party.
He emphasized that the in the peace agreements between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) was involved as a third party unlike in the Mount Data ‘Sipat’ where it was only sealed between former President Corazon C. Aquino and the late Fr. Conrado Balweg of the CBA-CPLA.
Ngao-i claimed that the recent pronouncement of Secretary Galvez that the government remains committed in fulfilling its obligations under the peace agreement is a welcome development among the surviving autonomy advocates who were witnesses to the signing of the agreement as they want a closure of the same with the establishment of the long overdue autonomous region.
On his part, Abra Vice governor and CPLA Chairman Ronald Balao-as stated that the ongoing talks between the government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the CBA-CPLA is a giant step towards achieving lasting peace in the region.
He said that there should be a continuity on the gains of the ongoing talks in the past so that something significant could be achieved, especially in the provision of socio-economic and livelihood assistance to the combatants who have already reached the twilight of their lives and are hoping for the realization of the fruits of their previous armed struggle which is the establishment of the autonomous region.
Balao-as expressed his gratitude to the OPAPP for recognizing the unified CPLA under his leadership as the legitimate organization dealing with the government in terms of dealing with unresolved issues and concerns of the Mount Data ‘Sipat’ since it was the consensus of the combatants and other influential leaders of the group to make him as the head of the unified CPLA to advocate for the still unfulfilled commitment for the put up of an autonomous region.
Leonardo Bun-as, one of the surviving signatories to the Mount Data peace agreement, hailed the efforts of the government to reach out to the CBA-CPLA to iron out unresolved issues and concerns on the historic agreement because it is through continuous dialogue and consultations that potential solutions to existing problems could be peacefully settled and agreed upon by the involved parties.
As stalwarts of the Mount Data ‘Sipat,’ Bun-as asserted that what they want to see is the realization of the establishment of the autonomous region that will speed up the development of the Cordillera in the future. By HENT