BAGUIO CITY – Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza was honored as the “adopted son of Cordillera” by the Regional Development Council (RDC) and tribal leaders of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) during the Gong Relay event in Baguio City Hall as part of the celebration of 30th anniversary of the region.
The RDC commended the secretary for his unparalleled support for Cordilleran autonomy and unwavering efforts to provide peace and development in the country, calling him as “Mansapit”, a Kankanaey word that means peace-maker or savior.
Aside from the certificate of adoption, Sec. Dureza was also given tokens, such as a gangsa (Cordillera type of Gong), spear, shield and loincloth.
In his speech, Sec. Dureza reiterated the importance of consulting the bigger table, the people’s peace table, in order for the Cordillerans’ goal of achieving full autonomy be realized.
“Cordillera is not only composed of officials that represent you in the same manner that when I talk to the rebels on our negotiation, I openly refer to them as small table. The bigger table is the public, they are the stakeholders.”
The Secretary also announced that after President Duterte receive the draft of Bangsamoro Enabling Bill on Monday, he will meet with the Cordilleran groups to discuss the draft of the House Bill 5343 “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of Cordillera” on Tuesday so they can voice out their aspirations to the President.
“I talked to the President before I went here. I said “we’re moving decisively on the Bangsamoro. Let us not leave the Cordillerans behind,” the secretary said.
“I told him, (President) in the same that you certify the bill to pass the BBL for the Bangsamoro, then equally, we must see to it that we certify the bill to create the Cordillera Autonomous Region.”
The passing of the Unity Gong from one CAR province to another symbolizes their unity, and calls for support for full autonomy and cultural preservation.The Gong Relay event also featured the ceremonial beating of Gong by local government officials, and its turn over from Baguio to Benguet. ###