6. The quest for autonomy by the Cordillera people of Ben-guet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Abra and Kalinga-Apayao (BIBAK) is a long history of their struggle to determine their own future.
7. Before colonial times, stories from their forefathers that were passed from generation to generations, tell us of their experience of indigenous autonomy.
8. These mountain tribes used to be self-sufficient and self-governing through the practice of their indigenous institutions.
9. What makes these institutions as a “blueprint” in their experience of autonomy is the strong practice of direct democracy in all levels of public decision-making.
10. For one, the peace pact system, since its development as a political institution during the Spanish times, has proven to have consistently preserved the indigenous identity and self-sufficiency of the Cordillera community.
11. The peace pact system is variously called pudon or budong among the Kalingas, the Tinguians of Abra and Is-negs of Apayao;
12. pechen among the Bontocs of Mountain Province and the Kankan-ey or Ibalois of Benguet;
13. and biyo or puchon among the Ifugaos.
14. Then they have also the traditional economic organization based on the egalitarian rules of production.
15. The relationship of people In the process of production are generally the expression of community solidarity.
16. If these indigenous institutions persist today as a strong force to reckon with in the Cordillera people’s struggle for self-determination,
17. it is because these Institutions have been developed and nurtured as a culture throughout their historical experiences since time immemorial.
18. SFX: Gongs
19. For the Cordillera people, preservation of their cultural integrity is the centerpiece of their quest for genuine autonomy.