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PIA Press Release

CAR leaders thank PGMA; confer on her "Mother of Cordillera" title

Manila (25 June) -- Leaders from the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) trooped to Malacanang yesterday (June 24) to bid President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo farewell as well as thank her for her support to the development of CAR."

Governor Eustaquio Bersamin of Abra, Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Jr. of Baguio City, Gov. Nestor Fongwan of Benguet, Representative Solomon Chungalao and Gov. Maximo Dalog of the Mountain Province heaped praise on the President saying that the development projects she initiated in the region have lifted the lives of Cordillerans.

Bersamin thanked the President for her scholarship and social re-integration program which has provided deserving students employment opportunities that resulted in the increase in the number of rebels returning to the fold of the law. CAR used to be an operational area of a renegade group of communist rebels.

Bautista called the President "our loving mother," and said that her holiday-tourism promotions including spending her summer and Christmas vacations in Baguio City have boosted the city's image as the country's summer capital.

Fongwan expressed the thanks of the people of Benguet sustaining the province's vegetable production and for her pioneering efforts to ensure the freshness and affordability of produce from Benguet farms through the establishment of cold chain storage facilities and the construction of more farm-to-market roads.

Chungalao and Dalog, meanwhile expressed what they said were their "eternal and endless gratitude" for the President's show of "so much concern and support" for the development projects in CAR.

These milestone projects include:

1. the rehabilitation of the Halsema-Mt. Data to Bontoc and Bontoc to Banaue roads and the Bontoc-Lugwagan, Tabuk-Tuguegarao, and the Baguio City-Cayapa-Nueva Vizcaya roads, among others;

2. the construction of numerous farm-to-market roads throughout CAR;

3. the establishment of the Benguet cold chain storage and the La Trinidad fruit and vegetable mini-processing plant;

4. the construction of irrigation projects for some 9,700 hectares of agriculture land throughout the region;

5. the designation of Baguio City as the northern node of the Philippine Cyber Corridor benefitting a total of 79,950 from the marginal sector;

6. the establishment of the Cordillera Regional Development Council; and;

7. support to the renewed pursuit of Cordillera regional autonomy.

In his welcome remarks, Environment Secretary and Cabinet Official for Regional Development-CAR Horacio Ramos lauded the President, thus: "These milestones may be her legacy for the Cordillera but for us, they are the foundations for renewed economic development opportunities for our generation and generations yet to come."

"Notwithstanding some criticisms on her leadership, her Excellency has actually cemented her place in the history of the Cordillera and we Cordillerans will be forever grateful for the economic development projects and initiatives you have established and initiated for us," Ramos added.

After the testimonials, the President was conferred the "In-Inan di Kordilyera" (Mother of the Cordillera) title by way of Resolution CAR-024 of the Cordillera Regional Development Council which expresses deep gratitude to Her Excellency for her unprecedented attention and full support to the CAR. The President left Cordillera a legacy of improved development foundation by which Cordillerans will continue to pursue efforts towards a personally more dignified and better quality of life, said the Resolution.

The President was then presented with tokens of appreciation from the participants consisting of beads and a intricately woven coat.

The head beads, according to Presidential Assistant Armando Galimba, represent wisdom and sovereignty while the beads woven to form a necklace represent enduring leadership and motherhood.

The coat, meanwhile, will "provide" protection for the President. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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