NEDA and TCC Boost Bontoc Autonomy Awareness

BONTOC, MT. PROVINCE – The Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and NEDA-CAR in partnership with The Cordillera Connection (TCC) conducted the concert-forum in the second half of 2017. Several senior high schools and colleges in Bontoc, Mountain Province attended the event at the Eyeb Grandstand which forms part of a series that aim to inform the youth on Cordillera Autonomy.

Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan Jr. in his opening remarks echoed the clamor of living pioneers who first struggled for autonomy. They are older now and may not live to see its full results. Therefore, this has now become a struggle of the youth of the Cordillera. “This is for you and your children, and your children’s children”, the governor said.

(Far left) IEC speaker and Provincial Administrator Atty. Amador Batay-an speaks to a crowd of senior high school and college students as students take notes. (Middle) Project Jon Band entertains the crowd with songs of peace, love, identity and culture.

Esteemed Mt. Province locals Atty. Amado P. Batay-an, Atty. Tomas Kiwang Jr., and Mr. Gary Pekas, all members of the Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Speakers’ Bureau, built on the governor’s strong statements as each of them gave their brief but effective lectures. Atty. Batay-an referring to the EO 220 of the Aquino administration said “Before July 15, 1987, there was no Cordillera to talk about…[before] that time we were not a region; we were nothing.”

He educated the crowd about the past where he shared, “The Cordillera was one of the most underserved, underdeveloped areas in the country”.

Gary Pekas approached things a little differently as he excited the crowd with stories of songs and protests that helped inculcate a generation into fighting for their rights. “Ultimately the objective of Autonomy is progress for all”, he concluded.

TCC, represented by the Baguio-based Project Jon band, led the concert accompanied by Bontoc-based AFEW band and the Mt. Province General senior high school band, all of whom rendered songs with messages of peace, love and peoples’ rights. Ifugao State University hosted a similar concert-forum held for Ifugao youth in Lamut, Ifugao.