Originating from some of the Philippine resistance movements that fought the Japanese during the Second World War, the Philippine Communist Party (Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, PKP) continued its armed struggle against the post-war administration in Manila with the aim of leading a Maoist revolution until 1954. In 1968, the PKP split, with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) emerging as the more powerful force and launching an insurgency against the Government of the Philippines across the country.<sub>1</sub>In the mountainous and relatively sparsely populated Cordillera Region (on the island of Luzon), the communist movement was heavily influenced by a spectrum of local indigenous communities with grievances of their own against the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos. A key point of contention was construction of a hydroelectric dam and the exploitation of natural resources in Cordillera, both of which threatened the livelihoods of the local population.<sub>2</sub>When Marcos was forced to flee the country in the face of widespread political and military opposition to his rule in 1986, the CPP cadres in Cordillera rejected the decision of the Central Committee to continue the armed struggle against the new, elected Government of Philippines, and formally split from the organisation to form the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA).<sub>3</sub>Despite the name, the CPLA sought autonomy for Cordillera within a federal Philippine state rather than full independence.
The same day that the CPLA was established, it entered into a traditional sipat (ceasefire) agreement with the new government at a ceremony held at the Mount Data Hotel in Bauko. This ended the fighting between the CPLA and the Government of Philippines in Cordillera and laid the foundation for the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) by the administration of Corazon Aquino later that year. This polity was governed by a 200-strong Cordillera Regional Assembly and a 29-member Executive Board, providing a degree of political representation to the population.<sub>4</sub> Despite these gains, the CPLA refused to disarm, and the government failed to create a permanent autonomous status for Cordillera and stopped funding the CAR in 2000, leaving the conflict unresolved for decades. In 2011, the CPLA agreed to disarm in return for investment and autonomy for the region, and positions in the armed forces for some of its personnel. These arrangements were formalised with the signing a Memorandum of Agreement on 18 January 2011.<sub>5</sub>This was met with public celebrations of the Mount Data Accord on its 25th anniversary in September 2011 in support of the peace process.<sub>6</sub>In 2019, the Government of Philippines created a Joint Evaluation and Monitoring Committee to track the implementation of the terms of the agreements and serve as a mechanism to prevent renewed conflict.<sub>7</sub>