Abra for Autonomy – The westernmost Cordillera province hosted three events that promoted and gained support for regional autonomy.

BANGUED, Abra – The province of Abra conducted three major events that reached over 5,000 people from March 21 to 23. From former rebels to young students, support for the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy was manifested. These events were conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority Cordillera (NEDA-CAR) in partnership with the provincial government of Abra and the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army.

The CPLA led by its Chairman and Abra Vice-governor Ronald Balao-as celebrated the galigad ritual on March 21. It aimed to reaffirm the 1986 sipat peace pact between the Philippine government and the CPLA. Over a thousand Cordillerans witnessed the event where Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza represented the government side. An IEC on autonomy was conducted in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, students and teachers of Abra were treated to an afternoon of music, culture and learning at the 6th autonomy concert-forum in the Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASIST) gymnasium on March 22. The Cordillera Connection (TCC) band continued their advocacy performance by playing songs of cultural pride and unity. Vladimir Cayabas reprised his role as autonomy expert and host of the event.

The municipal training of autonomy IEC speakers with leaders from the barangay and municipal levels was conducted on March 23 in the provincial capital. Cayabas served as resource person. This was attended by 25 officials from 5 LGUs namely, Bangued, Bucay, Lagangilang, Manabo, and Peñarrubia. The training aimed to increase the capability of local leaders to spread awareness and gain support for regional autonomy. The leaders agreed to spread the message of autonomy to their respective municipalities.

More activities are lined up to boost awareness and support to autonomy in Abra based on the communication plan which considered the province as the number one geographical priority per the 2017 pulse survey results. (by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR)