July 15, 2023, has been declared a special non-working day in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., through Proclamation No. 250. This date marks the 36th Foundation Anniversary celebration of the region, also known as Cordillera Day.
The Cordillera Day is celebrated every 15th of July in recognition of the signing of Executive Order 220 on July 15, 1987, which created the Cordillera Administrative Region. This has been observed faithfully over the years as an occasion to commemorate the struggles of the Cordilleran heroes to assert their distinct identity and preserve their rich culture and tradition.
Executive Order No. 220 was instituted under the 1987 Constitution, with the vision of creating an autonomous region in the Cordilleras. The order recognized the shared and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures of the provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas within the region.
The Cordillera Administrative Region, as defined in the Executive Order, consists of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, and Mt. Province, and the chartered city of Baguio, with Baguio City being the seat of the CAR. The CAR was established to administer government affairs in the region, accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the region’s units, and prepare for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras.
CAR was granted authority and responsibility over regional administrative systems; economic, social, and cultural development; agricultural, commercial, and industrial development, and promotion of tourism; infrastructure development; urban and rural development, protection of ancestral domain and land reform; regional educational systems; health, sports, welfare and social services; and preservation and enhancement of indigenous customs, traditions, languages, and cultures among others.
The Cordillera Day celebration is a testament to the enduring spirit of the Cordilleran people. As stated in Proclamation No. 250, “It is but fitting and proper that the people of the Cordillera Administrative Region be given full opportunity to participate in the occasion and enjoy the celebration.” The Proclamation was issued on Monday, June 5, 2023, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.
As the people of the Cordillera Administrative Region prepare to celebrate the 36th anniversary of their foundation, it is a time for reflection on their rich history and anticipation of a bright future for the region.