LAST March 22, 2018, the first announcement for the holding of April 2018 five-day session by the members of the Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA) was sounded off in this column. It was like an “On your mark” signal as done in sports.

Today, April 4, 2018, the announcement signal is for “Ready!” The “tangguyob” or horntoll is directed to the CRA members who took their oath of office (“sapata”) on June 11, 1988, at the Baguio Convention Center and those who came closely after that to take their oath before the chairman at the Cordillera Regional Assembly Building at Harrison Road, Baguio City.

By virtue of Executive Order (EO) 220, the EO that still had a legislative fiat and established the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the CRA was set up as the legislative arm among the Cordillera regional government bodies and tasked to lay down preparations for autonomy in the CAR.

With all members representing the various municipalities, tribes and private organizations appointed on June 11, 1988, the Assembly was finally convened on July 14, in the same year.

As a policy-making body, the CRA is mandated to do the following tasks:

(1.) Discuss the annual report of the Executive Board and the proposed budget of the CAR (2.) Initiate plans and programs for the CAR. (3.) Discuss and resolve inter-tribal conflicts and other issues of inter-tribal import. (4.) Formulate policies affecting the Cordillera consistent with the national and local laws; and (5.) identify priority projects and development programs for the region.

Executive Order 220 requires that there should be 350 members, but the actual members appointed to the Assembly did not exce3ed 212 (two hundred twelve) as of July 19, 1988. In that year also, the geographic components of the CAR were the province of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao (later separated into Kalinga and Apayao), Mountain Province, and the chartered City of Baguio.

Abra had the total of 48 representatives in the Assembly (made up of municipal-25, NGO-3, and tribal-18); Benguet had 41 (12-3-26); Ifugao had 41 (14-3-24); Mountain Province had 35 (10-3-22). Kalinga-Apayao was lated split into the two separate provinces of Apayao and Kalinga.

In the summary overall, the CAR had an actuall of 212 listed assemblymen coming as representatives of 77 municipalities, 18 major NGO’s and 177 tribal groups.

To be continued next week.


In the lighter vein, I would like to give my belated but still much warm greeting to my only and ever young daughter Ma. Gina and Donyell, my grandson, of her and husband Lyndon.

We three happen to be Martians by biological arrival. Gina March 1, Donyell and the third, that’s me, March 22. Had her year been a leap year, Gina would have been a February twenty-niner, one who celebrates natal day only every four years for better or for worse depending upon how the situation is pocket-managed.

Anyway, an unscheduled gaiety in our tri-party celebration was caused by some cultural lapse. Birthdays were not celebrated by the early Gobang Tinguians (to which I belong and represent in the CRA) unlike marriages and funerals where they could go up to sleepless nights to chant, sing and dance and, of course, partake of more food together with visitors from all corners.

I really “forget to remember” about our birthdays to the hearty glee of Gina chuckling through that modern gadget called the cellphone until people in the BARP Multi-Purpose Cooperative, led by Karen and Wilma started singing “Happy birthday to you” to me as I entered office with them on the 23rd of this March.

or their mnemonic effort, they earned a hearty lunch, hopefully that is, partially via the listing they made under my name at the consumers section of the Coop.

Thanks to them, too, I then could say, “Thank You, God, You are our life, You are our joy.” Salamat Po, Agyamankam!

Sincerely I expressed that also for all my March co-celebrators in the Blessed Association of Retired Persons both Foundation and Cooperative.