People from all walks of life participated in the culminating activity of the Unity Gong Relay held at the Sports Complex of Luna, Apayao where the unity gong received its fair share of spotlight.
On stage to represent their provinces and cities were Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. from the host province of Apayao, Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin of Abra, Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Cong. Nicasio Aliping from the City of Baguio, Gov. Nestor Fongwan of Benguet, Gov. Denis Habawel of Ifugao, and Mayor Ferdinand Tubban from the City of Tabuk, Kalinga. Also present to uplift the spirits of the crowd was Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Senator Pimentel gave a brief and reassuring message on Cordillera’s struggle for self-governance. He said “Today, we are faced with a more aware and engaged political audience. Our people are now more knowledgeable about the thrusts of modernization and development, or in short the benefits brought about by genuine regional autonomy.”
In his speech, he has drawn inspiration from the concurrent discussions on the BBL, saying that “Once BBL with suitable amendments is approved into law and after it is ratified by the people concerned, I see no barriers to the approval of a similar law for the Cordilleras.”
Senator Pimentel extended his hand of cooperation saying that he will be one with the stakeholders of the Cordillera into turning the Cordillera Autonomous Region into a reality.
And on behalf of their provinces and cities, the mayors and governors together with Senator Pimentel made a symbolic joining of arms to express that the end-goal of the unity gong relay was fully achieved.
Lastly, the unity gong was turned over to the City of Baguio represented by Mayor Domogan which will be next year’s host for the 29th Cordillera Month Celebration and will be partnering with the Sectoral Committee on Social Development Chaired by Director Janet Armas of DSWD-CAR.