BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong announced the city government did not sanction the conduct of a parade in the city’s central business district last September 13, 2019 by an ousted faction of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) to celebrate the historic Mount Data peace accord entered between the Philippine government under former President Corazon C. Aquino and the former rebel priest Conrado Balweg of the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA).
The city chief executive claimed that he is not aware having signed a permit for the conduct of a parade by the said group considering that the armed group reportedly ceased to exist when the CPLA entered into a purported closure agreement with the Philippine government in July 2011.
He said that the local government will not allow the conduct of such activities by the armed group that ceased to exist after the supposed closure agreement considering that the city does not recognize the CPLA’s existence despite the claim of some CPLA combatants in some parts of the Cordillera that they were not part of the alleged closure agreement.
The city mayor pointed out that in the meantime, the city government will not recognize any activity of the CPLA in the city considering that as far as he knows, the group already entered into a closure agreement with the national government that should have resulted to the eventual dissolution of the organization.
According to him, if there are internal matters between the factions of the organization which have not been settled, then it is appropriate for them to settle their rifts without intruding into the jurisdiction of local governments that decided not to recognize them as they are trying to sow confusion for them to be able to pursue their interests in the use of the group for their personal and political interests.
He expressed optimism that similar activities of the CPLA in the city will no longer push through in the future as the city government already made its firm position on the matter so that there will be no suspicion among others in the future that the city government is playing favorites to a faction of the CPLA.
A faction of the CPLA conducted a parade in the city last week as part of the activities that the group lined up in celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the Mont Data ‘sipat’ which again earned the ire of some residents and city officials.
In 1999, the city government declared some CPLA officials as persona non grata in the city for their alleged involvement in alleged illegal activities, among others, to serve as a warning to other officers and members not to be involved in alleged illegal activities that tend to affect the overall image of the city.
Despite the previous condemnation done by the local government on the alleged illegal activities of the group in the city, there are still a number of people who still use the name of the organization to pursue their alleged clandestine activities for their own personal and political interests./Dexter A. See