BAGUIO CITY – The RDC Infrastructure Committee (RDC InfraCom), chaired by Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) Regional Director Tiburcio Canlas, and the Provincial Government of Kalinga (PLCU), represented by incumbent Kalinga Vice Governor James Edduba, presented the various activities for the month-long celebration of Cordillera month during the Kapihan held last June 26. The RDC InfraCom and the Kalinga PLGU will lead the celebration of 32 years of the Cordillera Administrative Region and its pursuit of regional autonomy with the theme, “Building One Greater Cordillera.”
The theme is a celebration of the significant gains the region has attained in the 32 years since becoming an administrative region while also recognizing the potential for a “greater” Cordillera through regional autonomy. Edduba added that regional autonomy is one of the Cordilleran’s “unfinished fights.”
The DPWH-CAR district engineers discussed updates on infrastructure development throughout the region. Currently, 90% of more than 2,200 kilometers of national roads of the region are already fully paved, said DPWH-CAR Planning Chief Angelita Mabitazan.
Outgoing Kalinga Vice Governor James Edduba detailed the events to be conducted in the province as a lead host with the Cordillera Unity Gong Relay kicking-off the celebrations in Tabuk City on July 9. The Unity Gong will make its way around the region accompanied by DPWH, DILG, and NEDA, and other delegates of the Regional Development Council and local government units. It will return to Tabuk on July 14 in time for the Cordillera Weave Fashion Show and Cordillera leaders’ fellowship night which will feature indigenous food prepared by the Pasil Slow Food Community. A parade of the provinces and regional line agencies will mark the beginning of the culminating day on July 15.
Each RDC sectoral committee is assigned for a specific day in the Unity Gong Relay. The Watershed and Environment Management Committee, chaired by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will spearhead a tree-planting activity in Flora, Apayao on July 9. Tree-monitoring activities will also be done in each province during the relay to see the progress of trees planted in past relays. Tree-planting has been a major part of the Gong Relay since it started in 2012.
The Development Administration Committee will hold a tax amnesty and tax update seminar led by Bureau of Internal Revenue in Bangued, Abra on July 10. The Committee on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns, led by its chair, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, will hold Gong-playing and traditional dance or tayaw workshops for the stops in La Trinidad, Benguet and Baguio City on July 11 and 12, respectively. Subsequently, a trade fair will be led by the Economic Development Chair, Department o f Trade and Industry, in Bontoc, Mountain Province on July 12.
The Social Development Committee will provide a one-stop shop assistance for senior citizens in Lagawe, Ifugao led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Commission on Higher Education on July 13. Committee Chair and DSWD Regional Director Janet Armas added that they will be joining the relay to provide services to senior citizens and assist DENR in monitoring the trees planted. The host, Infrastructure Committee through DPWH, will showcase the region’s infrastructure gains through a video presentation specially prepared for the culmination in Kalinga on July 15.
To keep up-to-date with the Unity Gong Relay and more Cordillera autonomy information, please follow the official page for the renewed pursuit for Cordillera autonomy, One Cordillera.
By Marlo T. Lubguban