By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Jovencio, the brother of the late rebel priest Fr. Conrado Balweg who conceded to the government of Corazon Aquino 26 years ago in the signing of Executive Order 220 that paved the way for the creation of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), said the Cordillera people have no reason at all to celebrate July 15.
Every July 15, local government units of the Cordillera as well as the national government celebrate the founding anniversary of CAR. This year, it will be the 25th anniversary celebration which the city government of Baguio will host.
He said that the pact with Corazon Aquino did not answer the Cordillerans’ aspiration for genuine autonomy. He added that the so-called peace pact in Mt. Data, Bauko, Mt. Province was just a show merely to accommodate the members of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) as the government realized that it could use the said armed group to create confusion and fear among the people of the Cordillera.
He said that it is now obvious that the CPLA today is simply a para-military group serving as security guards for warlords and politicians. He said further that the 1986 Sipat or the so-called cessation of hostilities between the CPLA and Aquino’s government is a symbol of how readily political opportunists are to deal with the opposition even at the expense of their people.
“Ti CPLA ket nabayagen koma a natay nga isyu ta isuda ket parte metten iti Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) isu a kaskasdaaw ta apay a makinegnegosasyon da pay laeng iti gobyerno,” (The CPLA should be already considered a dead issue and they are part of the AFP so its of wonder why they are still negotiating with the government) said Balweg. He also cited the warring factions of the so-called army that reflects on how their leaders and members are craving for monetary opportunities from the government.
Jovencio, of the Cordillera Elders Assembly (CEA), said that 25 years since the creation of CAR, the poor situation of the people has turned to worse in every administration. He added that the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera confronted by development aggression in the collaboration of the Philippine government and big foreign corporations.
Furthermore, he said that instead of looking at the real plight of the Cordillera lands and resources being plundered by large corporate mining and the government itself, a bogus Cordillera autonomy is being insisted on by politicians who have other vested interests.
The Cordillera elder, a former leader of the New Peoples Army (NPA) guerillas for over three decades, said that the people will only taste true autonomy if their struggle for the preservation of their ancestral lands for the future generations be respected and their aspirations for self-determination over their inherited natural resources be recognized. # nordis.net