BANAUE, Ifugao, July 10 (PIA) -- Ifugao native priests or ‘mumbaki’ performed traditional rituals to kick off the Cordillera Unity Gong Relay in Banaue Hotel on Monday, July 9.
The mumbaki offered a native pig and chickens as they perform the rituals and prayers asking the gods for blessing and success of the Cordillera Unity Gong Relay which is a major activity of the 31st Cordillera Month celebration this July. They also called for the different provinces and cities in the region to unite towards attaining the dream of regional autonomy.
The Cordillera unity gong relay was conceived by the Regional Development Council in its search for an activity that would draw all the provinces and the City of Baguio in the pursuit of regional autonomy.
The symbolic unity gong is moved from one province to another. The governors or their representatives serve as relayer and receiver usually at the political boundary area or at the seat of governance. They take turn in beating the gong at a designated area to sound-off the call for unity and they gave out messages on the move towards regional autonomy.
This year’s Cordillera Month celebration is hosted by the province of Ifugao with the Regional Development Council – Development Administration and Good Governance Committee chaired by the DILG-CAR.
Ifugao Governor Pedro Mayam-o, in his message, appealed to his fellow Cordillerans to show cooperation and unite as one region to attain the dream of Cordillera autonomy.
He said that although the survey of the NEDA-CAR showed increase in the awareness on the Cordillera autonomy, there is still a need for the Cordillerans in the different provinces to unite and show to the national government and other people that the Cordillerans are really united in pursuing regional autonomy through the Cordillera unity gong caravan.
“We want to increase awareness on Cordillera autonomy and let it be heard by the national agencies as we beat the gong during the relay to be done in the different provinces in the Cordillera,” said Mayam-o.
He stressed that the Cordillera Month activities are not only for the elected officials and government employees but should be joined and participated by the citizens of the Cordillera.
RDC Vice Chair and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando shared in her message the improving awareness of the Cordillerans on regional autonomy through the various information education and communication campaign and activities being conducted by the RDC and the different line agencies.
The move has gained supporters in the national level including Senator Miguel Zubiri who filed the Senate bill on Cordillera Autonomy and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who committed in a dialogue with Cordillera leaders through OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza.
From the province of Ifugao, the gong travelled to Bontoc, Mountain Province then to Tinglayan and Tabuk City in Kalinga on July 10, then to the old capital town of Kabugao in the province of Apayao on July 11.
From Apayao, the Unity gong travelled to Bangued, Abra on July 12 and to the City of Baguio and province of Benguet on July 13 and back to Lagawe, Ifugao on July 14 for the Cordillera Month culmination program on July 15.
This year’s celebration theme is “CAR@31: Regional Autonomy for Good Governance” which is congruent to the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy and in support of the Regional Development Council’s thrust of autonomy towards federalism. (PIA CAR)