PEACE TALK PARTICIPANTS. Former President Fidel Ramos (3rd from left) cuts the ribbon for a photo exhibit in Metro Manila about the 1987 peace talks that led to the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region, in this file photo from 2018. Ramos, who was Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1986, was among those who participated in the peace talks with the local armed group, the Cordillera People's Liberation Army, that led to the laying down of arms of the group of Conrado Balweg. (File PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – Malacañang has declared July 15 a special non-working holiday in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

"It is just fitting and proper that the people of the CAR be given full opportunity to celebrate in and participate in the occasion to a special celebration," said Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez in Proclamation 04 dated July 8, a copy of which was received by the Regional Development Council on July 12.

CAR is commemorating its 35th founding anniversary on July 15 after it was created through Executive Order 220 which was a result of successful peace talks with the local armed group - Cordillera People's Liberation Army (CPLA) led by former priest Conrado "Ka Ambo" Balweg.

To commemorate the anniversary, a program will be held in Baguio City on July 15 and will be attended by Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo and Senator Imee Marcos as guest speakers.

The national government thru former President Corazon Aquino initiated talks with the rebel group in 1986. Adopting the local practice of "bodong" (peace talks), the parties went thru "sipat" (exchange of peace tokens) that led to the issuance of the EO creating the Cordillera Administrative Region in preparation for becoming an autonomous region. (PNA)