Cordillera History – Autonomy IEC Speaker Gary Pekas reminded the people of Sadanga of the substantial role of their town during the early struggles for Cordillera self-determination in the 70s and 80s.
The Municipality of Sadanga in Mountain Province hosted 3 information drives on Cordillera autonomy from February 26 to 28 in barangays Bekigan, Belwang and Sacasacan. The National Economic and Development Authority Cordillera (NEDA-CAR) partnered with the Sadanga Environmental and Cultural Care Association Inc. (SECCAI) for these activities which aim to raise awareness and gain support for the autonomy advocacy.
Autonomy IEC speaker Pekas emphasized the role of Sadanga during the struggle against the government-backed Chico dam and Cellophil projects. Locals old enough to recall the struggles of the 70s and 80s acknowledged the presence of armed groups in their hometown before, who played a pivotal role in gaining support for a self-determined government in the Cordillera.
Sadanga holds a distinct place in the history of the Cordillera. North of Sadanga is Tinglayan, Kalinga, and to the east lies Tubo, Abra. As such, Sadanga was right in the middle of the 2 development projects, the Cellophil Resource Corporation’s 200,000-hectare logging concession and the Chico River multi-phase dam project. These projects called for the defense of resources and territory among the people of Sadanga.
Their history of struggle was not lost among the people of Sadanga. The residents acknowledged that there is still a pressing need for an autonomous government to address issues specific to the region. However, they also agreed that a peaceful solution is the correct means to pursue autonomy.
Sadanga may have moved past the armed struggles yet the municipality and its people continue to keep the spirit of self-determination alive. “Far away, secluded places like Belwang have different needs that the national government cannot address. Autonomy is the answer”, Barangay captain Vicente Tik-chap concluded.