(Top) Baguio-based Project Jon band leads the concerts series throughout the region. (Bottom) Bontoc students enjoy the band performance.

BAGUIO CITY – The RDC through the NEDA-CAR, in partnership with The Cordillera Connection, has conducted four concert-forums in 2017 that aimed to educate the Cordillera youth on regional autonomy.

Four provinces were witnesses to these youth concert-forums since July in time for the Cordillera month celebration. The first event was held in the province of Benguet last July. The provincial governments of Kalinga, Mountain Province and Ifugao hosted the subsequent concerts. All concerts were headlined by Project Jon and supported by local acts from each respective province.

Gains

The series of youth concert-forums gained a following among the youth sector. The excellent performances by Project Jon and local provincial bands and the informative discussion on autonomy by members of the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Speakers’ Bureau piqued the interest of the students.

Student participants particularly from Lamut and Bontoc yearned for more discussions on autonomy. One student from Kalinga said, “The event was fun. Most of the students enjoyed the show. YES TO AUTONOMY!”. Another student from Kalinga said, “It just made me proud that I am a product of Cordillera”. Echoing the sentiments of most of the students attending the concert-forums, a student from Bontoc said, “Give more time to Cordillera and the struggle for Autonomy”.

Tabuk had the largest gathering so far with around 5,000 students attending the event. Bolstered by these numbers, the event series garnered an estimated 7,000 attendees throughout the 4 provinces. The NEDA Social Preparation for Cordillera into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Facebook page “One Cordillera, Yes to Autonomy” reached over a thousand likes, boosted by exposure through the concert-forums.

Engaging the Youth

As we begin the new year, the RDC and NEDA aim to further engage the Cordillera youth in the advocacy for regional autonomy. Several activities are lined-up for the coming months including theatre and street plays and student forums delving deeper into the topics introduced in the concert-forums (by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR).

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