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Cordillera as captured by Art Tibaldo

The Cordillera Administrative Region
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Click these links to view a satellite image of the mountainous region of the Cordillera. You can zoom out from the opening window showing Mt. Pulag, the Philippines' second highest mountain. Lower 2 links will open a youtube video about the Cordillera.

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Check this detailed research work by Albert Ernest Jenks

ABOUT THE CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

 

I.                   A GLIMPSE OF HISTORY 

 

The old Mountain Province was composed of Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Kalinga and Apayao.  But on June 1966, Republic Act No. 4695 known as the Division Law divided the old Mountain Province into four regular and independent provinces namely Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province and Kalinga-Apayao. Abra was a separate independent province lodged with Ilocs Sur.

 

In 1972 , Presidential Order No. 1 (Regionalization Law) divided the whole country into 13 regions.  Abra,  Benguet, Mt. Province and Baguio became part of Region I while  Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao were included in Region 2.  Efforts  calling  for the creation  of a new separate Cordillera region failed.

 

Movements for local autonomy and administrative decentralization  has always been a part of   the   history of the Cordilleras,  starting from the  Spanish colonial period to the American period. The Chico dam  and Cellophil projects  in the 1970s  ushered the emergence of a new consciousness in the region.               

 

The 1970s and the  80’s marked the rise of  organizations  to defend the land and the  rights of  people  and to advocate autonomy but with different views.

 

        April 24, 1985 -   April 24 was declared as the Cordillera Bodong Day by the Cordillera Bodong Administration  while the  Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA)  declared it as Macli-ing Memorial Day. This was   in honor of all who died in defense of the rights of the Cordillera people in the struggle for self-determination.

 

        September  13, 1986 -  President  Corazon C. Aquino met with representatives of the Cordillera Bodong Administration and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army  under then Fr. Conrado Balweg for the exchange of peace tokens to signify the “sipat”(cessation of hostilities) and acknowledged their aspirations for Cordillera Autonomy. A joint memorandum of agreement was signed between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the CPLA  which provided a cessation of hostilities between the two groups.

 

        February 1987 - The new Philippine Constitution was ratified. Section 1, Article X  provides for the creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras. Section 15, Article X also provides that the autonomous region in the Cordillera shall consists of provinces and cities, municipalities and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics

 

        within the framework of the Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.

 

      The CPA was in the forefront lobbying for the inclusion of an autonomous   

       region in the Cordillera.

 

        July 15, 1987 -  President Corazon C. Aquino signed Executive Order 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) composed of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao (still one province then), Mountain Province and the City of Baguio.  Baguio City  has been designated as seat of  regional  government .

 

      Created under EO 220  were  the three  regional bodies  - the Cordillera   

      Regional Assembly (CRA) as the policy formulating body which shall

      articulate and  harmonize the interests and aspirations of the peoples of 

      the Cordillera; the Cordillera Executive Board (CEB)  as development body

      and implementing arm of CAR; and Cordillera Bodong Administration

      (CBA) as a commission to promote  respect for  the customs and cultural

      traditions of  the tribes concerned.

 

       The CAR has three purposes -  administer the affairs of government in the

       region; accelerate the economic and social growth and development of

       the units of the region; and prepare for  the establishment of  autonomous

       region in the Cordilleras.

 

        In September 1987, Administrative Order 36 was issued directing the establishment of line departments in the newly-created region.

 

        March 1988 – President Aquino appointed 22 regular members of the CEB. Other  members were appointed much later. The first session of the CEB was held at the Mansion House on April 9, 1988.

 

        July 1988 – opening session of the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission (CRCC)  which was tasked to assist Congress in preparing an Organic Act establishing an autonomous region in the Cordillera.

 

        January 30,  1990 – overwhelming rejection  of  the Organic Act (Republic Act  6766) crafted by the Congress of the Philippines.  Only the province of  Ifugao ratified  the Organic Act.

 

        December 1990 - Supreme Court ruled that  Ifugao cannot  make up CAR and  EO 220 still in force and in effect until properly repealed or amended .

 

 

 

        20 August 1991 – The  Regional Development Council in CAR was organized with Benguet Governor Andres Bugnosen as Chairman. 

      Subsequent CEB  Executive  Directors automatically became the RDC

      Chairman.

 

        October  1992 -  President Fidel  V. Ramos  in his visit urged Cordillera leaders to unite and draft a new organic act

 

        January 1995 -  Joint CEB-CRA-Regional Line Agencies  acting as the Regional Development Council  with chairmanship still lodged  with CEB Executive Director.

 

        December 1995 – The Cordillera Leaders Forum  formally launched a massive autonomy consultations in CAR.

 

        07 March 1998 – Plebiscite for the ratification of  the second Organic Act (RA 8438) for the  creation of an autonomous region in CAR was again rejected  with  only the province of Apayao   ratifying it .

 

        14 June 2000 – President Joseph Estrada  issued a memorandum directing the winding up of operations of CAR Bodies

 

        20 July 2000 – Executive Order 270 Extending the winding up of operations of CAR Bodies

 

        18 December 2000 – Memorandum  Order 128 creating an oversight committee to oversee and coordinate all preparatory work necessary   to the winding up of operations of CAR Bodies.

 

        30 July 2001- Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued EO 30 providing for the establishment of CAR Regional Development Council. This also provided that EO 325 (reorganization of RDCs) will be applicable to CAR which means the region will have regular RDC set up similar to other regions.

 

        January 2002 – Pres. Arroyo appointed  then Benguet  Governor Raul Molintas   as RDC Chairman with  then University of Baguio President   Dr. Virgilio C. Bautista  as  co- chairman.

 

      The RDC is composed of provincial governors, the city mayor, mayors of  

      provincial capitals, presidents of the provincial mayor’s league, regional

      agencies under the NEDA Board, other identified agencies, sectoral

      private representatives and geographic private sector representatives.

 

        02 May 2002 – Pres. Arroyo  issued Administrative Order 34 formally resurrecting the  Cabinet Officers for Regional Development (CORD).  Secretary Silvestre C. Afable Jr was appointed  CORD for the Cordillera.

 

        October 2004 – Pres. Arroyo appointed  Mt. Province Governor Maximo Dalog as the  RDC chairman.  Dr. Virgilio Bautista, public sector representative for Baguio was re-appointed as co- chairman. The RDC officials’  term will end  June 2007.

 

The RDC –CAR has a total of 55 members-53 regular  and two special non-voting members.

 

        25 October 2004 – Pres. Arroyo appointed former Sagada Mayor Thomas A Killip as  Presidential Assistant for  Cordillera. He  chairs the  Regional Kalahi Convergence Group, an inter-agency group created to formulate and implement anti-poverty programs and projects in the region.

 

II. CAR’S DEVELOPMENT VISION

 

We, the people of the Cordilleras, proud of our culture rooted in spirituality, shall truly have an autonomous region of a unified, enlightened and empowered citizenry who shall pursue sustainable development where responsibilities and benefits are equitably shared by all.

 

III. RDC MISSION STATEMENT

 

The Regional Development Council  is the primary institution to unify and coordinate all efforts toward the development of the region as:

        Bastion of rich indigenous culture and knowledge

        Champion of good governance

        Physically integrated and accessible

        Watershed cradle;

        Family-oriented eco-tourist destination;

        Major energy producer;

        Prime educational center;

        Food basket; and

        Agri and light industry producer for an improved quality of life for the

people of the Cordilleras. 

 

IV. MILESTONES

 

Regional integration

     prioritization of the Cordillera Road  Improvement Project (CRIP) component roads such as the rehabilitation of  the  Baguio –Rosario Road(Marcos Highway) , Baguio-Aritao Road, Halsema Highway among others.

     Adoption of  the Master Plan on Alternative Transport Systems in CAR

     Completion of the Cordillera Energy Producer  Master Plan

     Intensified the Regional Project Monitoring Committee and their local counterparts in monitoring projects

 

Economic Growth

     implementation/consolidation of UE-assisted rural development programs  such as  CECAP, CHARMP, CASCADE

     Updating of  the Regional Investment Promotional Materials

     Supported festivals and other tourism-related activities such as the Explore the Gran Cordillera Trail” and Gran Cordillera Fest to promote the region’s mix of natural beauty, refreshing climate and distinctive physical endowment

 

Good Governance

 

     Initiated capability building programs for RDC secretariat and support staff

 

     Supported claim of Baguio City which resulted to the President allowing  the turnover of the Baguio Convention Center to the City for a minimal fee

 

Social Development

     Adoption of the Cordillera  Prime Education Center Master Plan designed to maintain  the region’s competitive edge as the prime educational center north of Luzon with its high caliber tertiary educational and technical vocational schools

     Facilitated the implementation of the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (KALAHI) convergence activities

 

 

 Cultural Integrity

     Creation of the Committee on Indigenous People’s Concerns in the RDC

Source: Cordillera Regional Development Council / Cordi-Link

(Script for an audio-video project that promotes CAR as an investment destination)

 

In the islands of the Philippines, there exist a different kind of destination, one that boasts of cool crisp weather, mist shrouded peaks and verdant valleys.

 

This is the Cordillera Administrative Region, named after the majestic Cordillera Mountain Range that rings its provinces and is located in the Country’s Northern Island of Luzon.

 

..its rugged terrain and breath-taking topography have been home to the sturdy and industrious mountain people for thousands of years, while its climate has bred an equally unique culture distinct from that of the country’s lowland colonized regions.  

 

The six provinces that make up the region are Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, the Mountain Province, Kalinga and Apayao.

 

The region’s center is the vibrant mountain city of Baguio, officially known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. 

 

CAR’s vision for a sustainable future is anchored on the continuing development of key focus areas providing vast investment opportunities.

 

(I. Greens and Ornamental Grocers)

Known as the salad bowl of the Philippines, the Cordillera is a rich source of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

Strawberries from Benguet, mangoes from Abra, coffee and citrus fruits from Kalinga, cassava from Apayao, highland vegetables from Ifugao and Mt. Province and other crops rarely found anywhere else in the country are easily grown in this region, thanks to its temperate climate and fertile soil. 

 

When fully cultivated, the vast agricultural lands of Kalinga and Apayao can substantially contribute to the rice supply of the entire country.

 

Fresh produce grown in the region are available at the vegetable trading post of La Trinidad in Benguet….a vital transshipment point where goods are sold, transported and distributed to markets nationwide.

 

Opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness abound and investments are welcome in food processing, packaging and other post harvest services and facilities.

 

Other industries with enticing prospects are cut-flower, organically grown rice and processed fruits.

 

(II. Physical Integration)

 

Two main thoroughfares spanning its circumference service the Cordillera from Manila.  The Maharlika highway is situated along the region’s eastern portion, while the Manila North road is at its western side. 

A network of roads and bridges spans mountains and rivers to interconnect the provinces.

 

Air transportation facilities within and nearby the Cordillera region have world-class potential.  The Loakan Airport in Baguio City receives a number of tourists and businessmen. 

Several tourism related airports also service the region; namely: The Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte, San Fernando Airport in La Union, Bagabag Airport in Nueva Vizcaya, Cauayan Airport in Isabela, and  Cagayan’s Tuguegarao Airport.

 

Flying time to nearby Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea and Singapore are less than three and a half hours. 

  

International sealanes have access to North Luzon through the base port in Poro Point in San Fernando City, La Union, the Salomague Port in Ilocos Sur, and the Currimao sea port in Ilocos Norte.

 

Three other sea ports complement  these to further enhance trade.  These are the Sual sea port in Pangasinan, the Palanan port in Isabela, and Port Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

 

The Cordillera Roads Improvement Project (CRIP) is designed to connect Metro Baguio with the region’s provincial capitals and other key growth areas via an efficient and year-round transportation network.  Modern telecommunication and information technology services are widely available in urban and rural areas. 

Mobile phones are the most applicable communications facility in this mountainous region.  Investments in the modernization of transportation, information technology and communication services are equally attractive, due to increasing demand.

 

(III. Energy Producer)

The Province of Benguet is home to two major hydroelectric facilities, the Ambuklao and Binga Dams.  In addition, the Cordillera watershed is a significant water source to the San Roque, Magat, and Chico River Dams.  Also, site-specific

mini-hydro projects provide clean power to remote areas.

 

Thanks to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, the doors have been opened for private sector participation in small-scale hydro-power projects as well as other alternative energy sources which have been earmarked for development.

 

(IV. Knowledge-based Industries and Agri-Industrial Activities)

The region has focused on light to medium manufacturing industries which are environment-friendly and preserve age-old practices and traditional means of livelihood. Textile weaving is common throughout the region.  Each province has specialized industry focus such as bamboo-based industries in Abra, winemaking in Mountain Province, silver jewelry in Baguio, fruits and vegetables in Benguet, Ifugao’s gifts, toys and housewares, coffee in Kalinga and wood furnishings in Apayao. 

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority or PEZA in Baguio City is an ideal location for modern light-to-medium industries.  It is host to international  companies such as Texas Instruments, Moog Controls, and Clientlogic. The site boasts of excellent services and  comfortable working environment for business operations.

 

 

In addition to the PEZA, CAR makes available to locators the 34-hectare former CRC, or Cellophil Resources Corporation site in Barangay Gaddani, Tayum, Abra, which was converted as the region’s second economic zone. The CRC is a mere 8 kilometers from Bangued, Abra’s capital town.

 

These two economic zones offer tax exemptions, training cost deductions and other attractive incentives to interested locators comparable with those of neighboring South East Asian Countries.

 

(V. Prime Educational Center)

 

A highly trainable English speaking and educated work force is easily available in the region. Baguio City is known as the Educational Center North of Manila, hosting world-class learning institutions like the Philippine Military Academy and Brent International School.

 

Various colleges and universities   offer different fields catering to the needs of industries.  Likewise, technical and vocational schools abound as a rich source of skilled manpower.

  

(VI. Watershed Cradle and Balanced Ecosystem Model)

As a vital watershed in Northern Philippines, the Cordillera strives to become a model of development that does not compromise the health of the ecosystem. As it develops, the region relies on its rich indigenous practices to promote sustainable development.

 

Two major mining companies have pioneered and continue to operate in the area producing gold, silver and copper, proof that the mountainous  topography is rich in mineral resources. 

Other areas remain untapped, waiting for prospective investors to explore vast opportunities in this sector.

 

(VII. Ecotourism Destination)

 

The thrust of the tourism sector is to preserve, conserve and enhance the Cordillera’s natural environment and rich cultural heritage.

 

The Cordillera Region is home to the world famous Ifugao rice terraces, honored by UNESCO as a world heritage site and which stands today as a monument of the people’s will and ingenuity. 

 

Popular tourism spots such as Baguio and Banaue are supplemented by other destinations such as the lush vegetation of Mt. Data, mystical Mt. Pulag, and the picturesque town of Sagada, with its awesome caves and quaint hanging coffins.

 

Interesting tourism activities include: playing golf; spelunking; mountain and rock climbing, mountain biking and white water rafting.

 

Annual indigenous festivals open to both local and foreign tourists are: Panagbenga of Baguio, Adivay of Benguet, Lang-ay of Mt. Province, Imbayah of Ifugao, Kalinga’s Ullalim; Padaya ti Apayao and Arya Abra.

 

Hotels, restaurants and other facilities are available providing ideal locations for local and international conferences and conventions. 

 

(VIII. Social Development)

The region has developed competencies and specialization in the area of health services, comparable with those of highly-urbanized areas.

 

Other hospitals, diagnostic centers and laboratories are sprouting in the city providing modern and traditional health services and facilities catering to the demand for medical tourism.

 

Conclusion….

 

These competitive advantages have established the region as a major investment hub in Northern Philippines. 

 

With its strategic location and close proximity to vast East Asian markets like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong, China and other Southeast Asian neighbors, the Cordillera offers local and foreign investors as well as every visitor endless opportunities, unique discoveries and an unforgettable lifetime experience. 

 

The Cordillera Administrative Region….,…unique and unbeatable combination of magnificent beauty and opportunities…………welcome to this extraordinary destination.

 

(lifted from the RDC-CAR AVP files)