The different sectoral committees of the RDC have scheduled various activities in the different provinces and cities in the region as the Unity Gong passes to the respective provinces from July 9 to 14.
The Cordillera Unity Gong Relay is set to kick off on July 9, Tuesday, at the Peoples Gymnasium at the Kalinga Capitol Compound in Tabuk City with traditional rituals followed by a program that will be spearheaded by this year’s host province of Kalinga with its officials led by Governor Ferdinand Tubban Vice Gov. James Odiem and Congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang and the members and officials of the RDC led by the Infrastructure Development Committee chaired by DPWH-CAR Regional Director Tiburcio Canlas, this year’s host committee and agency.
After the kick off program, the gong will be brought to Flora, Apayao passing via Tuguegarao City and the rest of the Cagayan municipalities.
While enroute to the province of Apayao, the Sectoral Committee on Environment and Natural Resources chaired by the DENR-CAR will be spearheading tree planting and tree tending activities in Flora and other parts of Apayao. An Information Education and Communication Campaing on environment protection and conservation particularly for the province with the largest forest cover in the region will also be conducted at the Elias K. Bulut Sr. People's Park in Flora.
At around 5PM will be the expected turn over of the gong ceremony from the province of Kalinga and the RDC to the province of Apayao led by Cong. Elias C. Bulut Jr., Gov. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang and Vice Gov. Remy Albano in Flora, Apayao. A symbolic tree planting will also be done by the officials after the turn over ceremony and program.
On the next day, July 10, the unity gong will travel to the province of Abra passing thru the Kalinga-Abra Road where the turn-over of the unity gong will be done at the highway boundary of Balbalan, Kalinga and Licuan-Baay, Abra.
The formal turn-over and program will be held at the Provincial Capitol in Bangued, Abra to be led by Cong, Joseph JB Bernos, Gov. Jocelyn Bernos and Vice Gov. Ronald Balao-as.
The RDC Development Administration Committee thru the Bureau of Internal Revenue will conduct a Seminar on Tax Amnesty and updates of Tax rules in Bangued, Abra.
The unity gong will then travel on July 11 from Abra to the province of Benguet passing thru the Ilocos Sur-San Emilio-Cervantes-Mankayan Road. A ceremonial turn over will be held in Mankayan and the delegates will be welcomed by Mayor Frenzel Ayong. The caravan will continue to travel via the Halsema Highway for the formal turn over by the Abra officials to Benguet officials led by Cong. Nestor Fongwan, Gov. Melchor Diclas and Vice Gov. Johnny Wagis at the Provincial Capitol in La Trinidad. .
The unity gong will be turned over at the Baguio City Hall to Mayor Benjamin Magalong and other city officials on July 12 by the Benguet officials by 8AM. It would be followed by a program with Department of Budget and Management OIC, Usec. Janet Abuel as the expected guest of honor.
On July 11 and 12, the RDC Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concern chaired by the NCIP-CAR will conduct a 2-day workshop on gong playing and traditional dances at the BIBAK Compound along Harrison Road in Baguio City.
The unity gong relay will then journey to Mountain Province . Benguet officials will do the ceremonial turn over of the gong to Mountain Province officials led by Bauko Mayor Abraham Akilit at the welcome arch in Sinto, Bauko. The formal turn over and program will be held at the Mountain Province Multipurpose Hall in the capital town of Bontoc with Cong. Maximo Dalog Jr., Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan and Vice Gov. Francis Tauli.
A One-Town – One-Product hub will open at the Bontoc Plaza with demonstration on the making of patopat or rice cake and coffee serving on July 12 by the Economic Development Committee chaired by the DTI-CAR.
On July 13, the unity gong will be turned over at the highway boundary of Bontoc, Mountain Province and Banaue, Ifugao in Mount Polis and will be brought to the Ifugao Provincial Capitol in Lagawe for the formal turn over and program with Ifugao officials led by Cong. Solomon Chungalao, Gov. Jerry Dalipog and Vice Gov. Glenn Prudenciano.
The Regional Social Development Committee will conduct the One-Stop-Shop for all the needs of the senior citizens by the DOH and DSWD while the CHED will conduct an IEC on the UNIFASTE or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education in Lagawe.
On the next day, the unity gong will travel back to the province of Kalinga in time for the pre-events and the main program on July 15.
A tree planting and tending activity will be done at the capitol grounds by the RDC and LGU officials led by Kalinga Gov. Tubban, the RDC officials led by Vice Chair NEDA Regional Directtor Milagros Rimando.
On July 14 and 15, the DTI-CAR will be featuring the Kapetirya coffee tasting and display and the mini-trade fair at the provincial capitol while the DPWH-CAR will also have an exhibit on the latest innovation on the infrastructure projects in the region also at the Capitol gym.
July 14 is also the Cordillera Heritage night where the “pakidum,” a cultural presentation will be performed by the indigenous people from Pasil, Kalinga and the “slow-food” or the traditional indigenous food of Kalinga will be served to the guest and delegates from the different provinces. Models from the different provinces will showcase their local fabrics in the Cordillera Weave fashion show.
On July 15 will be the Cordillera Day program which will kick off with a parade at 7AM along the thoroughfares of Tabuk City to the Kalinga Capitol gym for the formal program. DPWH Secretary Mark Villar is expected to be the guest of honor and speaker.
The gong relay was conceived by the RDC in its search for an activity that would draw all the provinces and the cities in the Cordillera in 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 theme is "CAR @ 32: Building One Greater Cordillera."
The Cordillera Administrative Region was created by virtue of Executive Order 220 signed by President Corazon C. Aquino on July 15, 1997 to 'administer the affairs of government in the region, accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units of the region; and prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras.'(JDP/ RMC- PIA-CAR)
By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis