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January 2, 2008

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CPA-Mountain Province holds 9th Congress, Celebrates Int'l HR Day

BONTOC, Mountain Province-The Mountain Province chapter of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) successfully held its Ninth Congress last December 19, 2007 in Kidlaa, Bontoc, Mt. Province with the theme "Uphold Life!". At least 109 delegates representing 37 member organizations attended the congress. This was followed by a commemoration of International Human Rights Day (IHRD) through a concert led by the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera (DKK) at the Bontoc Municipal Hall.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey formally opened the program on the IDHR commemoration in a message, followed by other messages of solidarity CPA and other LGU officials. Also present in the commemoration was Erlinda Bucaycay, barangay captain of Bontoc Proper. It was closed by a community dancing and a message from Councilor Mila Fana-ang.

In her keynote address during the congress, CPA Chairperson Beverly Longid challenged the delegates to further persevere and accelerate their tasks to arouse, mobilize and organize among the people of the Mountain Province. "While this year has been a year of victories especially on the field of human rights the CPA still needs to further consolidate its ranks for bigger and greater struggles", she said.

Longid added that it is not enough that the people know that they are oppressed and repressed but they also have to understand the root causes of these problems and to act on these problems collectively.

The congress discussed the present national and regional situations, including updates on the human rights situation. Vera Taguba of the CPA Education Commission presented the regional situation where she noted that to date, there are 125 pending mining applicationsiii in the Cordillera covering 1.2 million hectaresiv of the region's total land area, or 66% of its 1.8 million hectares. Nine (9) Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) and four (4) Exploration Permit Applications (EXPAs) were approved.

Meanwhile, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) Deputy Secretary General Imelda Tabiando gave a background on the IHRD.

Loreta Yocogan, CPA-Mountain Province's secretary-general, presented the Executive Committee report. This was followed by the formation of the new provincial council that selected the new members of the executive committee of this provincial chapter of the CPA. The Council met the following day to define the CPA chapter's program of action for the next three (3) years.

The new executive committee is composed of Art Malecdan, chairperson; Ruben Salang-ey, vice chairperson; Loreta Yocogan, secretary general; Brenda Fuchay, deputy secretary general; and Emerita Dazon, treasurer. # Cordillera Peoples Alliance

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