December 1, 2023

The celebration of the Cordillera Day on July 15 is a momentous occasion that recognizes the rich culture, heritage, and rights of Cordillerans, as this annual event brings together communities, activists, and advocates to commemorate the struggles and victories of indigenous peoples in the region.
Cordillera Day serves as a platform to highlight the importance of preserving and promoting the distinct traditions, languages, arts, and customs of the region. It also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique contributions and challenges faced by indigenous communities, as well as their ongoing efforts to assert their rights and protect their ancestral domains.
This year’s celebration with the theme “Celebrating one, resilient, diverse and inclusive journey toward regional autonomy” emphasizes the collective strength and unwavering determination of Cordillerans to protect their land, resources, and identity. It also underscores the crucial role of solidarity and unity in safeguarding indigenous rights, cultural heritage, and sustainable development.
The festivities in the region feature a diverse range of activities, which aim to foster dialogue, understanding, and appreciation for the rich tapestry of Cordilleran cultures while addressing pressing issues such as land rights, environmental conservation, and social justice.
However, left-leaning organizations are exploiting this cultural event for their own interest and serve as a venue to deceive and recruit vulnerable IPs and the youth.
Cordillera Day is an occasion to acknowledge the achievements and struggles of the Cordillera people in their pursuit of self-determination, not an occasion where these deceptive and self- interest groups can use and exploit.
The celebration should serve as a reminder of the collective resilience and determination to overcome challenges, promote inclusive development, and preserve the Cordillera’s unique identity. It should not be used for malicious representation of the region’s martyrs.
Thus, the government, civil society organizations, indigenous leaders, and stakeholders should unite to commemorate this one and only true Cordillera Day, reaffirming their commitment to upholding the rights, dignity, and aspirations of Cordilleran communities.
This celebration serves as a testament not only for the Cordillera but also for the country’s rich cultural diversity and the nation’s steadfast support for indigenous rights and cultural heritage.
We invite everyone to join us in celebrating Cordillera Day to appreciate the vibrant cultures and recognize the struggles faced by the Cordilleran people. — JAMES BIAG, Balik Loob of Mountain Province