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Celebrating the true Cordillera day

Executive Order 220 signed on 15 July 1987 created the Cordillera Administrative
Region (CAR); hence, the celebration of the Cordillera Day every 15 th of July. This has
been religiously observed over the years to celebrate the struggles of the Cordilleran
heroes to assert its distinct identity and preserve its rich culture and tradition.
Local officials and stakeholders from all the provinces lead annual celebrations as
reminder of the true essence of being Cordillerans and to pursue the plight for regional
autonomy. The latter, however, has been confounded by claim of the minions of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA)-National
Democratic Front (NDF) in the Cordillera that they are the ones fighting for their so-
called “genuine Cordillera autonomy.”
They confuse the people by holding their own Cordillera Day celebration every 24 th April,
which is actually the founding anniversary of the NDF. They anchored their celebration
in claiming that they are the ones recognizing the sacrifices of Cordilleran martyrs such
as Macli-ing Dulag only to project that their celebration is legitimate. This has already
been denied and even condemned by the descendants of Dulag.
This year’s celebration of the Cordillera Day on July 15 should therefore serve as a
reminder that the real Cordillera Day is celebrated on this date by true-blooded
Cordillerans. Real Cordillerans should not allow some groups such as the CPP-NPA-
NDF meddling with the real serious plight of the Cordillerans for self-governance. They
have no right to revise our history and claim to champion our interests when they are, in
fact, serving the interests of the CPP-NPA, which we should not forget, has been
designated by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) as a terrorist organization.
How can we, Cordillerans, allow a known terrorist group to interfere with our fight for
regional autonomy? This could ultimately put the long years of our plight for self-
governance into waste or even endanger our people.
May I therefore call my fellow Cordillerans to celebrate on the true Cordillera Day this
July 15. Let it be engrained in everybody’s mind that this date marks the truth behind
our rich history, and our identity.

Cristina Catbagan
Chairperson, Nagkakaisang Samahan para sa Kalayaan at Kaunlaran (NSKK)

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