Talks on Cordillera autonomy, peace set

OFFICE of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) Secretary Jesus Dureza is set to have a dialog with the Cordillerans on Monday, April 24, to talk about the regions' decades-old struggle for autonomy, including peace and development in the region.

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director Milagros Rimando said various groups in the region will attend Monday's dialog.

"We will gather all Cordillera groups, such as the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Alliance (CPLA) and other Cordillera groups, and we will be dealing with Secretary Dureza to talk about their common interest and the Cordillera autonomy," Rimando said.

Rimando said developments of House Bill 5343, "An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera", filed by all Cordillera representatives will be tackled.

“This is to bring all the groups who have started the Cordillera autonomy. We expect them to have more bonding and to have more networks and talk about the autonomy which was aimed before and until now. During the talk, the pioneers will tackle what would they like to come out in relation to the Cordillera autonomy that was earlier filed,” Rimando added.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan have earlier expressed his appreciation for Dureza’s support for the region’s clamor for autonomy, citing in the draft autonomy law, for the functions of the autonomous regional government, it should include specific functions now being done by the national government such as, but not limited to, the issuance of water rights, hydro power plants, mining and exploration.

Meanwhile, the CPLA will be celebrating Cordillera Day in Balbalan, Kalinga on Monday, marking the commemoration of Macliing Dulag’s death.

Dulag, a pangat (village chieftain), was assassinated because of his opposition to the Chico Dam project proposed by then President Ferdinand Marcos in the 70s.

On the same day, the CPLA will air their sentiments against the National Government and private companies operating in the region. They will call on the government to pull out the military in Balbalan due to their alleged violations in the community.

The CPLA, founded by the late Fr. Conrado Balweg, is a militant organization that fights for the self-determination of the people of Cordillera.

In 1986, the CPLA and the government of the Philippines made a cessation of hostilities in Mt. Data Hotel, in Bauko, Mountain Province. The agreement calls for the disarmament and reintegration of CPLA members into mainstream society.
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