BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan welcomed the proposals of concerned sectors to work out the declaration of September 13 of every year as a regular holiday in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to celebrate the signing of the historic ‘sipat’ or peace agreement between former rebel priest Conrado Balweg of the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) and the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) and former President Corazon C. Aquino that paved the way for the end of armed struggle in the region.
However, the local chief executive admitted that there is a need to consult the various sectors in the region regarding the merits of the said proposal to declare every September 13 as a regular holiday in the region considering its effects primarily to the businessmen who will have to pay their workers double that would mean an added expense on their part.
On September 13, 1986, Balweg and Aquino signed the historic Mount Data ‘sipat’ or peace agreement and exchanged tokens to signal the end of armed struggle in the region and the start of the reinvigorated peace efforts considering that one of the 26-poit demand of the CBA-CPLA during that time was for the grant of autonomy to the Co0rdillera.
The signing of the Mount Data peace agreement actually paved the way for the initial compliance of the national government in its commitment to grant autonomy with the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 220 on July 15, 1987 that brought together the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and the City of Baguio from Region I and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region II to compose the CAR.
Under EO 220, the CAR is supposed to administer the affairs of the government in the region, accelerate the socio-economic development of the region and prepare the region for autonomy.
Domogan pointed there seems to be no pressing issue on the proposed declaration of every September 13 as a holiday in the region but the concerned sectors, particularly the businessmen, must be consulted on the matter for their insights and inputs to be included as part of the deliberations for the intended declaration in the future.
After the issuance of EO 220 that was an offshoot of the historic Mount Data ‘sipat,’ former President Aquino then issued Administrative Order No. 136 that ordered the creation of the different regional line agencies in the region to help in delivering the basic services closer to the people of the CAR.
Domogan emphasized there is a need to sustain inculcating into the minds of today’s youth the important dates in the rich history of the CAR for them to be able to internalize the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy because the realization of the establishment of an autonomous region will be beneficial to the future generation of Cordillerans.
The CAR is now trying its third crack on autonomy with the filing of House Bill (HB) No. 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish the autonomous region in the Cordillera which is now pending deliberations with the House committee on local government and awaiting the certification of President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the said measure is an urgent administration bill pursuant to his commitment to Cordillera leaders during their meeting in Malacanang last July 18, 2017.
By Dexter A. See