It is a misnomer for the government to declare July 15 as Cordillera Day even as its foundation day because the recognition of the Cordillera region was already provided for by the 1987 Constitution. The late President Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order 220 is a concession given to the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) of the late Conrado Balweg, et.al.; it created the Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA) and the Cordillera Executive Board (CEB), and the integration of the CPLA into the Philippine military and the police forces. And, opened the region to foreign “ownership” a.k.a. investment.
Though the CPLA carried the name “Cordillera” and “Peoples”, their actions tell us other wise. They’ve been plain hoodlums in uniform, disguised as protectors of the people. The CEB and the CRA were inutile bodies that served as mouthpieces of the national government programs, deterrents to the interest of the Cordillera peoples. Executive Order 220 has become one of the much criticized national orders until today.
In 2000, Congress abolished the CEB, CRA and CBAd for their utter failure to implement their mandate as preparatory organs for regional autonomy and it was also reiterated that the CPLA is under the government’s armed forces.
Under President Benigno Aquino III’s government, privileges were again given to the CPLA by the passage of EO 49 and converted CPLA into a socio economic group with the power to dispense projects and was provided some P200 million in government funds.
Scrapping of EO 220, and the passage of a proper executive order to make the Cordillera a regular region is called for. Regional autonomy is the practice of self-determination and must emanate from the grassroots. As the Cordi peoples’ movement says, “The process cannot be rushed or dictated, it will certainly take time, if we are to seriously carry out people’s participation and empowerment and there is no substitute for such a process.”#
Duck-cover and hold maneuver
The most significant day in July is the anniversary of the “killer earthquake” of 1990, 16 July.
What is the significance of the lessons and insights gathered from this terrorizing phenomena to life in Baguio and the Cordillera region as well as to Northern Luzon? No actual count has yet been officially made of those who died in this catastrophe nor forensic studies put together to draw pointers for the protection of life. From two and a half decades ago, scientific study and consequenses of such magnitude of an earthquake or catastrophe has not yet been translated well enough into the education and preparedness to meet another or similar disaster in the future, for at least the population that was directly affected then. Especially for the generations who did not experience the 1990 earthquake. Reading, observing or participating in the drills is a good source of instruction. Studying also the areas where one may possibly be located everyday or on any day adds to one’s preparedness.
Also, know that of all places in the country, the geological nature of our region and its immediate neighbors are the most vulnerable or prone to the upper scale of disasters, like the strong typhoons – howling winds and drenching rainfall; tectonic movements are natural events but they can displace weakened foundations of the mountains and valleys… areas we build our communities on. Then there is the aftermath which usually include injury, property loss, death, hunger, etc.. Let us make an effort to learn and enrich the lessons needed to prepare all of us and everyone to face the unpredictable occurences of disasters. Prayer helps calm the mind while we must learn to “Duck! Cover! And Hold! And then seek shelter or sanctuary. # nordis.net