BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – The senior high school students of Saint Vincent’s School-Bontoc committed to support the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy during a Cordillera Autonomy forum and quiz bee organized by NEDA-CAR and the Lang-ay Festival Organization on March 9, 2020. Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey graced the event and encouraged the students to learn more about the region’s history and participate in its development going forward.

Cordillera Autonomy advocate and Baguio City Councilor Vladimir Cayabas emphasized the importance of the youth in the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy. He expressed that the region has a unique history, culture, and geography which led to various socio-economic differences with the rest of the Philippines. He called on the youth to continue the pursuit of autonomy to ensure that cultural practices and traditions can be passed on to the next generations of Cordillerans. Cayabas also stressed that the Constitutional mandate to establish an autonomous region in the Cordillera is a way to fast track development in the region.

The students participated in a mock plebiscite where 88% voted in favor of Cordillera autonomy. The students also signed a commitment of support to the regional pursuit of autonomy. To exercise their acquired knowledge, the Lang-ay Festival Organization and NEDA-CAR organized a post-forum quiz bee on Cordillera autonomy. The Bontoc Local Government Unit agreed with the Regional Development Council to conduct information dissemination fora at the barangay level this 2020.