CAR

Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)

The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is a region in the Philippines composed of the provinces of AbraApayao, BenguetIfugao, Kalingaand Mountain Province, as well as Baguio City, the regional center. The Cordillera Administrative Region encompasses most of the areas within the Cordillera Central mountains of Luzon, the largest mountain range in the country. It is the country’s only land-locked region. The region is home to numerous indigenous tribes collectively called the Igorot.

History of Regional Formation

On June 18, 1966, Republic Act No. 4695[2] was enacted to split Mountain Province into four separate and independent provinces of Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao.

Prior to the formal creation of Cordillera Administrative Region, as a consequence of the constitutional mandate under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the former four provinces was loosely under Cagayan Valley Region while the fifth province Abra was grouped under Ilocos Region.

On July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 220 which created the Cordillera Administrative Region, that included Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and annexed the province of Abra as part of the Cordillera Administrative Region, giving the region formal autonomy as part of her political compromise to the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, a rebel group operating in the mountain region.

On February 14, 1995, Kalinga-Apayao, one of the five provinces of the region was split into two separate and independent provinces of Apayao and Kalinga with the enactment of Republic Act No. 7878.

Several attempts at legalizing autonomy in the Cordillera region have failed in two separate plebiscites. An affirmative vote for the law on regional autonomy is a precondition by the 1987 Philippine Constitution to give the region autonomy in self-governance much like the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in southern Philippines. The first law Republic Act No. 6766, took effect on October 23, 1989 but failed to muster a majority vote in the plebiscite on January 30, 1990.[3] The second law, Republic Act No. 8438 passed by Congress of the Philippines on December 22, 1997, also failed to pass the approval of the Cordillera peoples in a region-wide referendum on March 7, 1998.

At present, a third organic act of the Cordillera is in the offing supported by the Cordillera Regional Development Council.

Regional Economy

Regional economy of the Cordilleras is diverse; mining, agriculture, export processing zone, tourism are among economic activities in the different provinces of the region.

The region is abundant with mineral reserves. These include metallic ores such as gold, copper, silver, zinc, and non-metallic minerals like sand, gravel and sulfur. Mineral reserves are found in all the provinces. However, mining is concentrated in Benguet. Its timber resources has dwindled since the introduction of slash-and-burn method of farming in all parts of the Cordillera mountain range.

Vegetable crop production is well developed in Benguet, rice production in Ifugao and Abra, corn production in Mountain Province, and Kalinga.

Baguio City and La Trinidad are considered as the industrial centers in the region. Baguio City hosts Baguio Export Processing Zone where operations of big companies like Texas Instruments, and MOOG are located. The city also hosts offshore and outsourcing companies operating call centers.

The primary growth centers of the region are Metro Baguio and the Eastern Cordillera Growth Corridor.

Tourist Attractions

Tourist attractions in the region include the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces in the province of Ifugao. Nations around the world boast of their own self-proclaimed “eighth wonder of the world.” The Philippines considers Banaue Rice Terraces as its “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The Banaue terraces, ancient sprawling man-made structures from 2,000 to 6,000 years old, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, widely found in the provinces of Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

Natural attractions of the region include the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada and the mummy caves of Benguet and Mt. Province. There are four National Parks: Cassamata HillMount Pulagthe highest mountain in Luzon, and second highest mountain in the Philippines, following Mount Apo of Davao, with an elevation of 2,922 meters above mean sea level, Mt. Data, and Balbalasang-Balbalan, located in the province of Kalinga. Kalinga also offers world-class white water rafting along the Chico River. The summer capital of the Philippines is Baguio, within the Cordillera Administrative Region.