Regional Director Susan A. Sumbeling of the Cordillera National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) led the agency’s participation in the Kick Off program of the 35th Cordillera Month celebration in Sagada, Mountain Province on 01 July 2022.

This year’s kick off program commenced with the symbolic and traditional tree planting activity at the St. Mary’s School grounds with the planting of catimor coffee hybrid variety, when processed, is the Sagada coffee.  

More than 400 participants from government agencies and local government units, civil society organizations and private sector, and the people of Sagada attended the main program which was held at the St. Mary’s School Gym. The officialdom of Mountain Province led by Congressman Maximo Dalog, Jr. Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. and Mayor Felicito Dula welcomed the guests and participants.  

Sen. Robin Padilla sent his greetings to the Cordillera people as they celebrate the occasion in a recorded message. He also thanked the Cordillera people for inviting and supporting him in the past election as he vowed to visit the region in the near future.

Similarly, Sen. Loren Legarda said, “I vow to continue being the voice of our Indigenous Peoples in the Senate. We will continue protecting the rights of our indigenous peoples, initiating efforts to liberate them from various forms of discrimination, showcasing their exceptional skills and world-class products, and supporting our cultural village”.  

The symbolic beating of the unity gong signaled the opening of the month-long celebration. Director Sumbeling, in his closing message said that the celebration “marks our sustained hope for regional autonomy. We are hopeful that this administration brings light to our collective aspiration for self-governance, as we see more partners in the Senate with our guest speakers, Senators Robin Padilla and Loren Legarda.” She added, “together with our CAR Representatives working at the halls in Congress, our local leaders and elders who continuously guide us in our advocacy, but most importantly, everyone here, fellow Cordillerans, your support is very important.”

Director Sumbeling together with other officials of the RDC led the ribbon cutting of the Men-ilako Tako Market Fair. Local entrepreneurs displayed their local crafts and products.

The celebration centers on the theme, “One Autonomous Cordillera: Ensuring social development and inclusive growth in the new normal”. The RDC Regional Social Development Committee chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Province of Mountain Province spearhead the celebration, as the host Committee and the host province, respectively.