Students and teachers of the Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASIST) engage in a moment of fun and learning as the The Cordillera Connection Band serenade them with thematic songs related to self-determination and autonomy

Around 1200 students from ASIST participated in the Youth Concert-Forum on Cordillera Autonomy held at the Abra Gymnasium, Bangued last March 22, 2018.

Provincial General Services Officer, Engr. Rey Allagao representing Gov. Maria Joy V. Bernos, shared part of the history of Cordillera autonomy in his opening/welcome remarks. Further, Allagao lauded the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) in coming up with innovative ways in order to encourage and engage all stakeholders particularly the youth sector in the autonomy advocacy.

As aptly mentioned by Allagao, music is a good way to introduce the youth to autonomy.

A number of students also grabbed the opportunity to raise questions such as the disadvantages of autonomy and its implications to the Province of Abra, among others. The emcees who also served as resource speakers Mr. Vladimir Cayabas and Ms. Jasmin Lapnawan answered the queries of the students while sharing other relevant information focusing on the basic concepts, history and the three core messages of Cordillera Autonomy.

This is an affirmation of the success of the autonomy concert-forum which was previously staged in the provinces of Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and the municipality of Sagada. The concert-forum would not have been as successful if not for the support of the Provincial Government of Abra, and ASIST.

A total of 8,550 Cordillerans from all provinces, composed mostly of students and the general public have participated in the concert-forum to date.

More students are expected to be informed and engaged with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) initiating diverse strategies to reach the youth in the coming months.

Among the proposed activities being explored are youth caravans, forums, training of young professionals as IEC Speakers, and production of Cordillera Street Plays, among others. These activities will be a collaborative effort with other Regional Line Agencies (RLAs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Higher Education Institutions and other partners. Aside from these, various platforms such as social media, radio, television, and print, among others, are being explored to maximize and intensify the media mileage of the autonomy campaign.


by Zenia P. Cadiogan-Alalag, NEDA- SPCAR