June 14, 2024

Celebrating true Cordillera Day

Executive Order 220 signed on July 15, 1987 has created the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); hence, the celebration of the Cordillera Day every 15th of July. This has been religiously observed over the years to celebrate the struggles of the Cordilleran heroes to assert its distinct identity and preserve its rich culture and tradition.

Local officials and stakeholders from all the provinces led annual celebrations as reminder of the true essence of being Cordillerans and to pursue the plight for regional autonomy.

The latter, however, has been confounded by claims of supposed allies of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Frontin the Cordillera they are the ones fighting for their so-called “genuine Cordillera autonomy”.

They confuse the people by holding their own Cordillera Day celebration every 24th of April, which is actually the founding anniversary of the NDF. They anchored their celebration in claiming they are the ones recognizing the sacrifices of Cordilleran martyrs such as ama Macli-ingDulag only to project that their celebration is legitimate. This has already been denied and even condemned by the descendants of Dulag.

This year’s celebration of the Cordillera Day on July 15 should therefore serve as a reminder that the real Cordillera Day is celebrated on this date by Cordillerans for the Cordillera.

Cordillerans should not allow some groups to meddle with the plight of Cordillerans for self-governance. They have no right to revise our history and claim to champion our interests when they are, in fact, serving the interests of the CPP-NPA, which was designated by the Anti-Terrorism Council as a terrorist organization.

How can Cordillerans allow a terrorist group interfere with our fight for regional autonomy? This could ultimately put the long years of our plight for self-governance into waste or even endanger our people.

As Cordillerans celebrate on the true Cordillera Day this July 15, let it be engrained in everybody’s mind that this date marks the truth behind our rich history, and our identity. – CRISTINA CATBAGAN, chairperson, Nagkakaisang Samahan para sa Kalayaan at Kaunlaran.