July 16, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

The long weekend in Benguet will be longer, as the provincial government declared June 18 as a special non-working holiday.

In Executive Order (EO) 2024-029, Gov. Melchor Diclas declared June 18 as a special non-working holiday through Republic Act 4965, which created Benguet and became a law on June 18, 1966.

RA 7672 was enacted by Congress which declared June 18 as a special non-working public holiday in Benguet. It lapsed into law in January 1994.

Diclas said Ordinance 99-58 approved on Nov. 3, 1999 set the date of the Benguet Foundation Day to Nov. 23 of every year, starting 2000.

It has also institutionalized the Adivay Festival as part of the annual celebration under provincial Resolution 06-55 dated Feb. 13, 2006.

“Pending the approval of the province’s request for the amendment of RA 7672 and declaration of Nov. 23 (instead of June 18) of every year as a non-working public holiday, RA 7672 shall be observed,” Diclas stated in his EO.

Benguet has two significant events in its conception as a provincial government with Nov. 23 and June 18.

It was on Nov. 23, 1900 that Act 49 was issued providing for the establishment of the civil government for the province of Benguet.

This was then celebrated yearly as the province’s founding anniversary with the Adivay Festival.

Fifty-seven years later on June 18, 1966, RA4695 was issued dividing the old Mountain Province into four provinces namely: Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao.

Section 2 of the RA 4695 states “the province of Benguet shall comprise the sub-province of Benguet and the municipalities of Tuba, Sablan, Itogon, La Trinidad, Tublay, Atok, Bokod, Kabayan, Kapangan, Bakun, Kibungan, Mankayan, and Buguias.”

The two significant days, June 18 and Nov. 23, are part of the rich history of the Benguet.