Latest Stories

Cordillera in crisis, says top NCIP official

THE BANAUE Rice Terraces may not be as antiquated as experts presumed. The latest archaeological examination of the terraces suggests these are no older than a thousand years, as modern anthropologists believed. Early studies described the terraces as 2,000 years old. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BAGUIO CITY—The Cordillera is in crisis because it has failed to resolve its political and social divisions on its 26th year as a region, a top official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) said during the Cordillera Day celebration here on Monday.

Zenaida Brigida Hamada Pawid, NCIP chair and the event’s guest, said the best way to describe this division was to remind the region’s leaders that the Cordillera “is continuously celebrating three Cordillera days.”

She was referring to the July 15 government commemoration of the signing of Executive Order No. 220, which created the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); the April 24 commemoration by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance of the 1980 murder of Kalinga chieftain Macliing Dulag who fought the construction of  Chico River Dam; and the Sept. 17 celebration to remember the “sipat” (cessation of hostilities) between slain rebel priest Conrado Balweg and then President Corazon Aquino, which led to the issuance of EO 220.

“When are we ever going to be one? Are we such a people that we can’t go back to the issues and values and the system that we knew [to solve our differences]?” said Pawid, a Cordilleran.

She said the Cordillera was facing “a crisis of the green.”

“We are the watershed of northern and central Luzon, but we have given up our waters, our mountains, our trees and our minerals without even a by-your-leave of the people of the Cordillera,” she said.

Pawid said the Cordillera was also dealing with a “crisis of people” who lost “the concept of integrity, self-determination and self-sufficiency.”

“We cannot remain in the museums simply as objects of study and subjects of rebellion,” she said.

But the Cordillera keeps celebrating the region’s founding even though it has not secured the same rights afforded to Muslim Mindanao over its resources despite a 1987 peace agreement, Pawid said.

Like the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Cordillera is identified by the 1987 Constitution as an autonomous region.

Pawid and Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in separate speeches, discussed the new wealth-sharing deal in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which would grant a prospective Bangsamoro region a 50-percent share from petroleum and uranium developed in their territory.

Domogan said the Cordillera would have fought for control over its natural resources had the region’s congressional leaders supported a third bid to create an autonomous Cordillera region last year.

The third measure, which replaces two previous autonomy laws that were not ratified in plebiscites in 1990 and 1998, was filed in 2011, only to be tabled over questions about the financing of a new autonomous region.

“CAR is 26 years old… [For a typical family], the hardest years are the teen years … but 26 is the year when most people decide to get married and to separate from their parents. We have reached that stage,” Pawid said.

The constitutional provisions creating autonomous regions, as well as the provisions recognizing indigenous peoples’ rights, were products of the struggles of Cordillerans and their history, she said.

“It was in the Chico River Dam [struggle] that the Cordillera became known internationally, and [which was why] the word ‘autonomy’ found its way into the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines,” she said.

“It is here in Baguio where the concept of native title was won in the Supreme Court of the United States in 1916 and it remains enshrined in the law of the land, which is now called the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8371),” Pawid added.

She said many of the people who spoke peace with Moro rebels were in fact from the Cordillera and their expertise could be tapped to help the upland region get better terms from the government.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, a Baguio native, led the government panel in the talks with the MILF. Pawid herself was a government peace negotiator under the term of former President Fidel Ramos.

“Fourteen million indigenous Filipinos look to the Cordillera, and ask us, why have we not acquired autonomy? Why haven’t we talked to the government to achieve that instead of kowtowing to its every decision? Why did the Cordillera lose its leadership over IPs?” she said. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cordillera , National Commission on Indigenous Peoples , News , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • How other faiths observe Holy Week
  • No noise, partying in Boracay on Good Friday
  • More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat
  • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • Tenacious Iran frustrates Qatar to retain Asian Club volleyball crown
  • Floyd Mayweather is ESPN’s top-paid athlete
  • Pistorius trial: Judge sets 2-week adjournment
  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Filipino rock icons to hold silent concert
  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • Business

  • Russian economy hit by Ukraine turmoil
  • PSEi firms up ahead of Lenten break
  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Visa-free travel by Filipinos to Japan still a proposal
  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Marketplace