LUNA, Apayao – Senator Aquilino Pimentel IV will be this year’s guest of honor and speaker during the main program of the 28th Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) founding anniversary on July 15, 2015 at the Apayao-Ecoturism, Cultural and Sorts Center in Payanan, San Gregorio here.
Engr. Francis Basali, chief of the Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) planning division, said Senator Pimentel was the first choice of the committee to be the speaker during the CAR founding anniversary program because of being a staunch advocate of the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and having filed the Senate version of the autonomy bill in the previous Congress.
Basali said this year’s theme for the CAR founding anniversary is “Conserving the Environment Towards a Greener Cordillera” which coincides with the endeavour of the people of the region to preserve and protect the environment for the benefit of the present and future generations.
The CAR founding anniversary activities will kick off in the city with a soft launching and the signing of the declaration of environmental policies initiated by the University of the Philippines College Baguio (UPCB).
Basali added the traditional Unity Gong Relay will be from July 9-14 with the program starting in Apayao and that the symbolic Unity Gong will also be handed over to Kalinga, then Ifugao, Mountain Province, Benguet, Baguio City, Abra then back to Apayao.
Ealier, the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) appropriated the amount of P1.4 million which will beg spent by the watershed cradle committee chaired by the DENR for this year’s lined up activities for the CAR founding anniversary.
On July 14, 2015, the provincial government of Apayao will be hosting a gathering for all agency and local government officials who will be gracing the occasion considering that the local government also earmarked a substantial amount from its budget for them to have their own activities for the celebration of the anniversary of the region.
Apayao will also be holding an agro-industrial fair that will feature the unique products of the different provinces of the Cordillera for the promotion of such products and for the appreciation of local residents and visitors.
The RDC-CAR is also awaiting the Proclamation that will be issued by the Office of the President for the declaration of July 15 as a non-working holiday in the whole region to pave the way for the aforesaid celebration.
Former President Corazon C. Aquino signed Executive Order No. 220 on July 15, 2015 that established the CAR composed of the provinces of Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province and the City of Baguio from Region I and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region Cagayan Valley as the government’s initial commitment to the signing of the famous Mount Data peace agreement between President Aquino and former Catholic priest Conrado Balweg of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CVPLA) on September 13, 1986.
By Dexter A. See