LUNA, Apayao, Feb. 14 (PIA) -- The province of Apayao celebrated its 25th foundation anniversary highlighting the gains of the province since its establishment as a separate province in 1995.
Governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang said the celebration of the Silver anniversary of Apayao showcases the rich culture and tradition of the people of Apayao and at the same time highlighted the developments and accomplishments of the province in the past 25 years.
Begtang said that they are also showcasing the vision and dreams of the past leaders of the province like his father, the late Elias Bulut Sr., who initiated the separation of Apayao and Kalinga as two independent provinces thru Republic Act 7878 passed on February 14, 1995.
Apayao was the most underdeveloped part of the Cordillera back then and its separation from Kalinga as an independent province was seen by Bulut Sr. to spur the needed development in terms of infrastructure, livelihood, tourism and other aspects.
The gains of the province were showcased thru the different activities of the foundation celebration with the Agro Industrial Trade Fair and Tourism Exhibits, the Apayao Food Fair, and the float and street dancing competitions.
Begtang said that even as the province is still recovering from the damaging typhoons and monsoon rains in last quarter of 2019, they pushed with the celebration to show to the residents and to the visitors what the province has become particularly its development.
The I-apayaos strived to rise back and rebuild their losses as they showcase their resiliency to disasters thru the support of the provincial government with the other municipal government units and barangays with the various line government line agencies, other local government units and the private sector.
Meanwhile, Congressman Elias Bulut Jr. reminisced what the province of Apayao was 25 years ago and what it has become today particularly during the height of insurgency.
Bulut recalled how the military and other government forces liberated the province from the New Peoples Army then. With the leadership of his father, the Armed Forces of the Philippines battled the stronghold of the NPAs in the historic Marag Valley in Luna town and Paco Valley in the tri-boundaries of the towns of Pudtol, Flora and Kabugao for several years.
After several years of battle, the area has been recovered and Marag Valley today is becoming one of the favorite tourist destinations with its Manacotta caves and river systems and the Dupag Rock formations.
The foundation anniversary was celebrated thru the Say-am Festival with the theme "Apayao at 25: Treasuring our Silver, Soaring to our Gold." (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)