By Artemio Dumlao/The Philippine Star
“If we do not unite, the national government will continue neglecting us,” he told some 50 members of the Cordillera Bodong (peace pact) Administration, one of the transitory bodies created by then President Corazon Aquino under Executive Order 220 to lay the ground work for autonomy in the Cordillera region during Monday’s 24th year of the Aquino-Balweg “sipat” (peace pact) at Mt. Data in Bauko, Mountain Province ending rebel hostilities in the Cordillera.
Even with the seeming “coldness,” the “padornat” (indigenous ritual warming up peace accords between Cordillera tribes) wanted to fan the flames of the push for autonomy amid the controversies and losing steam after the failed plebiscites in 1990 and 1998.
This, even at the heels of an apparent power struggle among Cordillerans after criticisms hurled against the Regional Development Council (RDC) jumpstarting the campaign for a third attempt at autonomy. “If you still have some shame left, stop violating the law,” said Emilio Liwanen, leader of a new interim group called Interim Cordillera Interest Group (ICIG).
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