ABOUT three weeks from today, another anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 220. (EO220) will be celebrated, or lets us say, commemorated. To be exact, the date is July 15. For sure there will be again two groups that will emerge prominently in the celebration or commemoration. One will be composed of those who harp on the role of the Cordillera Bodong Association/Administration (CBA) and the Cordillera People's Liberation Army (CPLA) and the other will be composed of those who will exult the event and the name of the signatory to the EO but put labored effort to avoid mentioning any particular Cordilleran who played a paramount role in the signing of the historical document.

The first group will most certainly recall to hearing and reading audiences the working of the Bodong System wherein the Cordillera ethnic peoples evolved their own political and economic structures and institutions, and then entered into peace agreements and relationships with one another to enhance life in its varied aspects. They will point to the colonialism by foreigners and neocolonialism by mainstream Filipinos as the disturbers of that indigenously effected and systematized peace and order in the communities, then conclude to the share the CBA and the CPLA contributed keep on contributing to the restoration and maintenance of such pristine peace and order.

Specifying their contribution, the CBA-CPLA has been known to enumerate the following as their share among others: 1.)Defended the rights of the Cordillerans as a people from the 1970's to about the middle of the 1980's; 2.) Splitted from the CPP-NPA-NDF on April 7, 1986 to hasten the recognition the Cordilleran's aspiration for self-determination and autonomy; 3.) Responded positively to the call of then President Corazon "Cory" C. Aquino for peace and reconciliation; 4.) Worked for the signing of EO 36, which created National Departments in the Cordilleras and gave preference to native Cordillerans in the filling up of positions although later on through AO 126 non-native Cordillerans were included; 5.) Victoriously challenged in the Supreme Court the COMELEC position to make the lone province of Ifugao compose the Cordillera Autonomous Region, thus preventing the political division of the Cordillera territory into autonomous and non- autonomous and kept it wholly intact to be a solid part of the Philippine territory.

In fairness to other aggrupations, it was not only the CBA and CPLA that had anything to do with the movement for Cordillera autonomy. The movement only happened to reach its peak in their time and happened to reach that level during the reign of a more sympathetic national president. In its incipient stages, there were the other highland individuals or groups that reacted more or less vehemently against discrimination against "cultural minorities" and called for the protection of their indigenous ownership or utilization of the land they inhabit and all its vital natural resources. Of these, first came the BIBAK organization of colleges in Baguio City and the whole former Mountain Province consisting of the subprovinces of Ifugao, Benguet, Apayao and Kalinga. Their organisation president of the was Jaime Bugnosen followed by Alfredo Lamen, student leader Bial Palaez, Angel Alumit, Timoteo delos Reyes, Augustus U. Saboy, Ben Andaya, Joseph Masaoay, Sergio Kawi, John Duclan and Jaime Paul Panganiban in varied degrees of ardency. Their appearance in the early 60's was followed by that of BIBAK professionals, like Moises Cating. Among provincial governors may be mentioned Ben Palispis of Benguet, Gualberto Lumawig of Ifugao, Jaime Gomez of the new Mt. Province and Amado Almazan of Kalinga-Apayao. They attended to influence then President Ferdinand Marcos to form a new region out of the mentioned new provinces but no avail. The same fate with the resolution file in 1984 by Batasang Bayan representatives Sergio P. Kawi of Mt. Province and Amado Vargas of Kalinga-Apayao that provided for the creation of the highland provinces and the City of Baguio into Region XIV. The CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) also propagandized peoples' right to self-determination precipitated by the construction of the Chico River Dam and various logging concessions, but, like the move of Honorato Aquino and Jesus Paredes in the Batasang Pambansa in 1984, did not produce any tangible result. The "genuine autonomy"battle-cry of CPA (Cordillera Peoples Alliance) led by Billy Claver fizzled out with the success of the Edsa Revolution although its campaign succeeded in the incorporation of Art X, Sec.15 by the subsequent Constitutional Commission into the draft of the 1987 Constitution a provision that mandates the creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras and Muslim Mindanao.

With the rapport that cropped up between the leadership of the CBA-CPLA, led by Fr. Conrado M. Balweg, SVD backed up by Abrn Aydinan's MNS (Mountain National Solidarity) group, and the National Government under the administration of President Cory Aquino, the CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) was put in place through EO220 signed by her on July 15, 1977, a day when the president of the Philippines still could issue an executive order with a legislative fiat.