Cordillera officials push autonomy to federalism

>> Friday, July 27, 2018

Unity gong relay drums up support to endeavor 

By Pamela Mariz Geminiano  

LAGAWE, Ifugao – Top Cordillera officials pushed support for realization of a Cordillera Autonomous Region as Cordillera Day is commemorated today with main activities in this capital town.   
For the sixth year in a row, Cordillera officials and folks held the annual week-long “unity gong relay” last week, culminating on the region's foundation day on July 15.
The unity gong relay is the ceremonial bringing of a symbolic gong to all the provinces and cities in the Cordillera, with the heads of localities doing the honors of beating the gong.
Since 2012, the festive ceremony was done yearly to drum up support to the region's call for autonomy.
"It links one province to the next and brings all into one," said Milagros Rimando, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority in Cordillera, said Tuesday, the second day of the Unity Gong Relay rites. "It is a venue to join hands in discussing the end dream of autonomy."
For this year, the 31st founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region, the unity gong relay kicked off Monday in this town.
Ifugao Gov. Pedro Mayam-o was the first to hit the symbolic gong, to usher the celebration bearing the theme "Regional Autonomy for Good Governance”, symbolically announcing the Cordillerans' renewed call for autonomy.
The Cordillera Regional Development Council, which Rimando co-chairs, is pushing for the region's autonomous status towards federalism.
Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan aired the same view saying other so-called groups who claimed to be supporters of President Dutrete and advocating federalism were confusing people with their pronouncements.
Domogan stressed the RDC’s thrust is Cordillera autonomy to federalism.
On Monday, the gong was transported to Mountain Province, where the convoy of government line agencies in Ifugao was received by Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan and his constituents, then passed on to the province's Sagada town, where more festivities took place.
On Tuesday afternoon, the gong was brought to Kalinga province, amid more festivities in Tinglayan town, then to the capital city of Tabuk, where a welcome program was held in the evening.
After Kalinga, the gong relay travelled to Conner, Apayao amid another welcome program on Wednesday.
Later in the day, indigenous friendship games were held in the capital town of Kabugao.
On Thursday, the unity gong travelled from Luna, Apayao to Bangued, Abra, where the convoy was met by the Abra delegation at the boundary of Abra and Ilocos Sur before another welcome program at the Abra Provincial Capitol.
From Bangued, Abra, the gong travelled to Baguio City, amid yet another welcome program at the Baguio City Hall grounds.
The gong was then passed on to the local officials of Benguet province at the Benguet Provincial Capitol in La Trinidad town for more festivities.
Yesterday, the unity gong travelled back to Ifugao, where it was received by the members of the Ifugao official delegation in Lamut town, capped by a tree-growing activity at the Panudpudan District Hospital.
In the Cordillera, the gong is a traditional tool in indigenous people's rituals, gatherings, and celebrations.
The beating and resonant sound of the huge metal disc seem to call everyone to action and to celebrate the people's camaraderie and oneness.
Some tribes of the Cordillera also use the gong in rituals to drive away evil spirits and bring forth prosperity among the people. -- PNA


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