March 27, 2023

Cordillera leaders and national officials renewed their support for the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy and development during the 34th Mount Data Sipat anniversary commemoration on Sept. 13.
Local and national officials gathered in Baguio City while others attended via online for this year’s sipat anniversary celebration.
Mayor Gabino Ganggangan of Sadanga, Mountain Province and Cordillera elder Leonardo Bun-as gave a recollection of the Cordillera’s journey towards peace and development and reminded the national government of the essence and significance of the Mount Data Sipat and affirm and intensify the efforts and commitments for the establishment of an autonomous Cordillera region.
Both witnessed the sipat or peace agreement forged on Sept. 13, 1986 at the Mount Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province between then President Corazon Aquino for the Philippine Government and Cordillera People’s Liberation Army led by Fr. Conrado Balweg. Bun-as is also a signatory to the agreement.
The event also paved the way for the government’s recognition of the aspirations for the establishment of an autonomous region of the Cordillera starting off with a provision in the 1987 Constitution leading to the issuance of Executive 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region as a transition towards autonomous region which was among the conditions of the agreements.
In his virtual keynote message, Sen. Christopher Laurence Go committed to support the realization of the dreams and aspiration for a progressive Cordillera.
Agriculture Sec. William Dar, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for the Cordillera, thanked Go for the support to the Cordillera and its quest for autonomy and development.
Baguio City Rep. Mark Go and Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao delivered their messages at the venue while Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog, Jr. delivered it virtually, all calling for unity among the Cordillerans including the political leaders, organizations, and other stakeholders to push for the long aspired autonomy in the region.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Sec. Carlito Galvez, National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, and National Economic Development Authority Asec. Mercedita Sombilla gave their messages of support online.
Regional Development Council Vice Chair NEDA-Cordillera Director Milagros Rimando lauded the national and local leaders as well as the Cordillera elders for their renewed support and unity for the realization of the autonomous region of the Cordillera.
Northern Luzon Command Commander, M/Gen. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. and 5th Infantry Division Commander, B/Gen. Laurence Mina also joined the event. – Redjie M. Cawis