Cordillera schools told to commemorate historic Mt. Data peace accord

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Education – Cordillera has directed all public and private schools in the region to conduct activities to commemorate the 1986 Mount Data “Sipat” or Peace Accord every September 13.

DepEd – CAR Public Information Officer Georaloy Palao-ay said that in line with the celebration of September as National Peace Consciousness Month, the DepEd issued Regional Memorandum No. 282-2019 directing schools and DepEd offices to conduct activities to commemorate the importance of the historic event held at the Mount Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province on September 13, 1986.

“September 13 should not only be another non-working holiday, instead this is a day when Cordillerans particularly students should reflect and learn from history most especially the importance of the Mt. Data Sipat,” Palao-ay said.

Since last year, September 13, has been declared by President Rodrigo Duterte as a special non-working holiday throughout the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to commemorate the Mt. Data peace accord, the first peace agreement signed in the history of the peace process in the country.

On September 13, 1986, President Corazon C Aquino of the erstwhile revolutionary government met with the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) led by Fr. Conrado Balweg and the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) led by Ama Mario Yag-ao at the Mount Data Hotel in Mountain Province for the forging of a peace agreement known as “Sipat” for the laying down of arms and cessation of hostilities between the government forces and the CPLA.

For the symbolic exchange of peace tokens, Aquino gave a rifle, a rosary, and a bible and from the CPLA, a shield, spear, head ax and bolo.

The CPLA and its political wing, the CBA had split up with the New People’s Army.

The agreement between the two parties paved the way for the government’s recognition of the aspirations for the establishment of an autonomous region for the Cordillera resulting to the issuance of Executive Order 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region as a transition towards autonomous region.

Palao-ay said that the commemoration of the Mount Data Sipat will also instill in the minds of the learners the greatness of the Filipino race, the legacy of their local heroes and the ideals of their nationhood and also reawaken their sense of responsibility and patriotic commitment to truly demonstrate the spirit of heroism, patriotism, nationalism, unity and regional identity.

Schools are encouraged to carry out activities such as the conduct of information, education and communication campaign on Regional Autonomy which can be coordinated with the Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region of the Regional Development Council for students to learn, understand and appreciate Cordillera history and the importance of the pursuit of Cordillera autonomy.

Other activities that could be done until the end of September include the conduct of inter-school quiz bee, essay writing, poster making, storytelling debate and oratorical contests and the organizing of a simple campus program to be participate in the learners and to be spearheaded by the social studies department with the putting up of bulletin board within the campus and display any informative materials concerning the commemorative event.

Teachers are also encouraged to integrate in the classroom discussion the historic event in the subjects being taught to student such as Araling Panlipunan, Edukasyong Pagpapahala, HEKASI, MAPEH, Filipino and English. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)