Senate body okays July 15 as holiday in Cordillera

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Senate committee on local government recently approved House Bill (HB) 8830 which seeks to declare July 15 of every year as special non-working holiday in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to be known as Cordillera Day in celebration of the region’s founding anniversary.

Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap filed the aforesaid bill in the House of Representatives last July 2020 in time for the celebration of the region’s 33rd founding anniversary at that time.

The bill was approved on third and final reading in the House last March 2021 and was transmitted to the Senate for deliberation and the eventual passage of the required counterpart bill before the same will be submitted to the Office of the President for signing into law.

“We are now a step closer to have the first holiday in the Cordillera enacted into law. The approval of the bill in the Senate committee is just the start of the victory of the people in the Cordillera. We look forward to this day every year to highlight our identity as Cordillerans and to celebrate our gains from the struggles we have overcome as a region,” Congressman Yap stressed.

He added that over the years, Malacan֮ang has consistently issued an annual Proclamation to declare July 15 as a special non-working holiday in the Cordillera in celebration of its founding anniversary but through the passage of the pending bill, the annual celebration of the region’s rich history, traditions and culture will be institutionalized.

The lawmaker expressed his gratitude to Cordillera congressmen for their all-out support for helping in defending the passage of the said bill in the Senate.

According to him, the passage of the said bill has been long overdue that is why it is worthy to express the heartfelt gratitude of the Cordillerans to the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino for approving the same at the committee level.

Congressman Yap disclosed that the bill will be scheduled for plenary deliberations in the Senate and for its subsequent approval so that its counterpart bill will be passed during the 18th Congress.

“Together with our fellow Cordillerans in Benguet, Baguio city, Abra, Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, we are in anticipation of the enactment of the measure into law. Rest assured that we shall follow through with its passage to establish July 15 as Cordillera Day and to declare it as a special non-working holiday in the region,” Yap said.

On July 15, 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 220 that created the CAR by bringing together the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City from Region I and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region II.

The creation of the CAR was an offshoot of the September 13, 1986 Mount Data peace agreement which was signed by former President Aquino representing the Philippine government and the late rebel priest Conrado Balweg who headed the Cordillera Bodong Administration–Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA). By HENT

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