A Walk for the Cordillera

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By Robert L. Domoguen

Mountain Light

Monday, August 4, 2014

I HAIL PNoy's highlighting the readiness of Albay in responding to Typhoon Glenda in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 28.

That Presidential recognition of the local government unit (LGU) of Albay speaks a lot about caring leadership and its efforts in making resources at its disposal to secure the people's lives, provide for their needs and well being at any given moment, for as long as necessary.

In effect, PNoy made his point that LGUs who are directly aware of the realities of their domains and the problems affecting their constituents must do their part if this nation has to move forward. An engaged leadership in all governance levels cries out to be felt if trust in government as overseer and caretaker of people's lives, their communities, industries and livelihoods, security and wellbeing is to be shared and sustained.


A political and organization analyst on PNoy's SONA over television said; "the President's remark on the LGU of Albay's efforts asks all the LGUs nationwide to step up their efforts," a good point indeed. I wish they would.

I have seen and heard PNoy deliver his fourth SONA, and he did score several points with me, except that I was disappointed he did not say any word about the quest for autonomy, or anything at all about the Cordillera. The disappointment had me thinking about how the Cordillera was and continues to be seen by the nation's policy makers, business and government leaders as a resource base and nothing more, all these years. I can be wrong, but that is a conclusion that comes to the fore as the region contemplates a myriad of problems needing government attention, and many of these problems are as old as the Republic of the Philippines.

So PNoy's SONA has set me walking - a contemplative walk perhaps through the Halsema recalling the challenges, and best and current good practices of the people and their local leaders from place to place in their quest for survival under this Republic. Some I shall share, the rest will go direct to my memos to the file, a journal of sorts.

After the SONA, the local media bannered that PNoy snubbed the Cordillera autonomy cause. He may not have said anything about autonomy for the Cordillera, but his silence does not bring me to that conclusion. After this walk, I will know who snubbed the cause, brought it to a snag. I blame no one but ourselves, whether we are for, or against autonomy. I think we are a people given to our own personal opinion of the nation's Constitution. The Cordillera Administrative Region is now 27 years old and the debates are but personal opinions here and there. For the cause of the Constitution, are Filipinos, Cordillerans especially, mutually pledged to each other, their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor? Amidst this confusion, I would rather talk a walk and fill up my journal.

I figure it would be easier to share journal entries while hiking on the Benguet side of the Halsema. This is because I have already mapped out in my mind, the segments of the hike that would fit into my objectives for this walk. What I have in mind is to draw out what the local government has accomplished to advance community development and write a story of my discoveries. I hope that the stories will provide helpful information on the implementation and management of community development projects in the Cordillera.

This walk will be a running probe; a dialogue and commentary into the values, concepts, outlooks and how the local populace and their leaders handle limited development investments. Along this concern, I expect to document lots of good practices that needs rediscovering, and retold or shared regarding community development initiatives and accomplishments in the light of current problems and challenges staring us in the face today.

That being said, why is there a need for me to dramatize it in a walk? There are easier and smarter ways to accomplish those objectives. I agree. I can even do the information gathering through several means, methods and channels besides walking. Is this about drama, as it appears, about me walking more than 200 kilometers distance, about people and places along the route, and about upscaling of good practices and intergenerational legacies? Yes, these are all part of this learning journey and contemplative enterprise.

Yet on the eve of this walk and even as I invite you to walk with me, I want to make sure we are on the same lane here, side by side and reading the same page of this introduction that respond to the question why.

First, this is not so much about PNoy. He could be the best President of the Republic and his chroniclers would make sure he would be long remembered.

And this not about me either because you should know me by now, I cannot and should not be doing this. Now that is not also a response because it multiplies the question why, rather than answering it. Truth is I cannot respond to that question now but it does highlight the fact that this is a prayer in its entirety - yes a very long one. If you get my point,
I hope that at the end of this journey, we can see and experience the who and the whats that we have not seen and experienced all these years, especially for this blabbering, hurting, still assuming and prideful soul. Please walk with me and lead me if you will.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 05, 2014.


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