September 20, 2009 in Cordillera
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
The said sipat by Balweg and Cory cannot be validly done as the practice is done between two tribes in the Cordillera villages on equal footing. photo courtesy of Cordillera People’s Alliance
BAGUIO CITY — While remnants of the para-military Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) commemorates the anniversary of the Conrado Balweg – Cory Aquino sipat (peace tokens) on September 13, a leader of Cordillera elders said that the sipat was a misrepresentation of the Cordillera people.
“The act is a continuing misrepresentation of sipat as practiced by binodngan areas in the Cordillera villages,” pointed Johnny Sawadan of the Cordillera Elders Assembly.
Last Sunday, September 13, Paulina Sawadan of the CPLA invited media people to Mount Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the peace accord that they had entered with the government of Cory Aquino.
In the said sipat, the CPLA led by Balweg pledged to cease hostilities against Cory’s government and a sipat or token exchanges were done by the two parties. Cory gave Balweg a baby armalite, a rosary, and a bible while Balweg in return gave a shield and an ax to then Pres. Cory Aquino.
Sawadan explained that the said sipat by Balweg and Cory cannot be validly done as the practice is done between two tribes in the Cordillera villages on equal footing.
He said that the act is a misrepresentation as Balweg cannot represent the Cordillera and that the government is not a Cordillera village practicing bodong (peacepact).
The CPLA had been claiming that the Mount Data peace accord with Cory gave birth to her (Cory’s) signing of the Executive Order 220 which united the Cordillera provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Abra, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Benguet and Baguio City under the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Sawadan explained that the Cordillera people struggled for the regionalization and an autonomous region, short of saying that Balweg and his CPLA grabbed for themselves what the people had achieved from their struggle.
Nordis learned that then Pres. Aquino issued Administrative Order No. 36 on September 23, 1987 which established the regional offices of various line agencies in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Many former CPLA members have now been inducted into the AFP, PNP, and the para-military CAFGU under the regime of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through an administrative order. Militants had been criticizing GMA for such moves. # nordis.net