BAGUIO CITY, July 14 (PIA) - - Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza affirmed his support to Cordillera’s pursuit of regional autonomy during the Cordillera Unity Gong caravan turn – over program at the Baguio City Hall grounds today.
Dureza announced that he was able to work out a meeting between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Cordillera officials on July 18 in Malacanang so that they can personally talk with the President about the region’s aspiration to become autonomous.
He advised the Cordillera leaders that if ever they get the support of the President, the region must not become complacent and continue to engage the people of Cordillera for better understanding of what autonomy means to the region and to solicit their support to vote for autonomy.
Citing the diverse culture in the Cordillera, Dureza also encouraged the regional leaders not to engage the people collectively but as much as possible per ethnic or cultural group. “Work for unity in diversity”, he stressed.
In the same program, the Regional Development Council chairperson Mayor Mauricio Domogan with vice – chair NEDA Regional Director Milagros Rimando led the adoption of Dureza as a son of Cordillera.
Dureza was presented with a Cordillera garb, shield and spear as well as an official document that he is now officially a son of Cordillera with the name “Memsapit”, a Kankanaey word that means peacemaker.
Cordillera is commemorating its 30th foundation anniversary as an administrative region this July adopting the theme, “CAR@30: A celebration of Cordillera Unity”.
Part of the celebration is the Unity Gong caravan that has started its journey last July 8 in Benguet and has gone around every province in Cordillera to strengthen the united call for regional autonomy. From Benguet, it proceeded to Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao and Baguio City.
Baguio officials turned over the Unity Gong to officials of the host province, Benguet this afternoon for the Cordillera Day foundation program tomorrow.
The foundation program starts with a parade from the Capitol grounds to the Benguet Sports Center Multipurpose Gymnasium in Wangal, La Trinidad followed by a program. Guest of honor is National Commission for Culture and the Arts is Executive Director Rico S. Pableo, Jr.
30 year ago, on July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino signed Executive Order 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region. Carlito C. Dar (JDP/CCD/PIA CAR)