By Liza Agoot
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is set to commemorate the successful peace talks between the national government under former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) led by former rebel priest Conrado “Ka Ambo” Balweg in 1986.
Malacañang issued Proclamation 802 declaring September 13, 2019 as special non-working holiday in the CAR in commemoration of the 1986 “Sipat”, an indigenous practice which is preliminary to the forging of a peace pact among the Cordillera tribes.
The “Sipat”, which means peace agreement in the local dialect, was done between Aquino and the NPA breakaway group CPLA.
During the Sipat ceremony on September 13, 1986 at Mount Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province, the former president received a spear, shield, bolo and head ax from Balweg, and in turn gave Balweg a bible, a rifle and a rosary.
“Sipat” started the process to end the hostilities with Balweg’s group heeding the call for peace in the entire country.
The 1986 Mount Data Sipat Agreement is the first peace agreement successfully entered into by the national government during Aquino’s administration. It allowed both sides to begin negotiating peace.
It led to the issuance of Executive Order No. 220 on July 15, 1987, which created the CAR. (PNA)