IN CELEBRATION of the 27th foundation day of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), President Benigno Aquino III has declared July 15, Tuesday, as a special non-working holiday in the region.

The proclamation stated it is fitting and proper the people of CAR be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

The theme of this year's celebration is "Boosting the Economic Competitiveness of the Cordilleras for Asean 2015".

For the first time, the commemoration is held outside Baguio City. Abra is this year's host.

The celebration formally opened in Bangued, Abra on July 9 that also coincides with the start of the Unity Gong's journey around the region with Baguio City as its first stop, then to Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao then back to Abra for the closing program on July 15.

Gong is the commonly-used instrument in all celebrations, rituals and gatherings of the Cordillera provinces. It is a fitting symbol of regional unity.

The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was created under Executive Order No. 220 signed by then President Corazon Aquino on July 15, 1987.

CAR was created with the following purposes: Administer the affairs of government in the region; accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units of the region, and prepare for the establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras.

The creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras is pursuant to Section 1, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, and the Regional Development Council is spearheading efforts for the renewed quest for regional autonomy. (Joseph Zambrano)