By ABIGAIL B. ANONGOS
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) announced today, April 10 that the 33rd Cordillera Day celebration or Cordillera Day 2017 will take place Sitio Bolo, Barangay Balantoy, Balbalan, Kalinga from April 23-25. Dubbed Cordillera People’s Caravan for Self-Determination and Peace, Cordillera Day 2017 carrying the central theme Pairtengen ti Pannakidangadang para iti Bukod a Pangngeddeng ken Panangsalaknib iti Daga, Biag ken Dayaw (Intensify the Struggle for Self-Determination and the Defense of Land, Life and Honor).
Cordillera Day 2017 is hosted locally by the Balantoy Farmers Association for Development under the banner of the Kalinga Agkaykaysa Salakniban ti Aglawlaw ken Gammeng (Kalasag) the CPA Kalinga chapter.
The Cordillera Day celebration traces its roots to the martyrdom of Kalinga pangat Macliing Dulag during the anti-Chico Dams resistance in the 1970s. The dam projects were funded by the World Bank. It was on April 24, 1980 that soldiers of the Philippine Army assassinated Macliing Dulag. From 1981 to 1984, the commemoration of the death of Macliing Dulag was called Macliing Memorial. With the broadening of the Cordillera mass movement encompassing all the provinces of the Cordillera, the commemoration started as Cordillera Day in 1985 to symbolize the widening unity and solidarity among the different indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, and with advocate and support groups at the regional, national and international levels.
The first celebration of Cordillera Day was held in Sadanga, Mountain Province. It was also in June 1984 that the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) was founded and took the lead in the celebration of Cordillera Day, which is now on its 33rd year.
CPA Deputy Secretary General Santos Mero said that Cordillera Day remains relevant as the expression of the people’s movement for national freedom, democracy and self-determination.
“April 24 is the Cordillera Day owned and embraced by the people, in contrast to those organized by government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), which is essentially historical revisionism,” Mero said.
The government celebrates their Cordillera day every July 15 to commemorate the signing of Executive Order 220 that created the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Program of events
The programme of the 33rd Cordillera kicks off on April 23 in Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga during the man-aabtan (convergence or salubungan) where all Cordillera Day delegates from the provinces, other regions and international community gather for the Unveiling of the Marker Dedicated to the Heroes of the Chico Dam Struggle, like Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc and Lumbaya Gayudan. The marker will rise at Sitio Iker, overlooking the village of Bugnay and the Chico River. A short program for the unveiling starts at 11AM and ends at 12NN. All delegates shall have started out for Sitio Bolo in Balantoy by 1PM, and are expected to arrive at the venue by 5PM to 6PM.
On April 24, the Cordillera Day itself, the program highlights include: the keynote speech from Rev. Fr. Rex B. Reyes, Secretary General of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and National Council member of the SANDUGO Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination; an input on the national situation from Renato Reyes Jr., Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) secretary general, and Updates on the Peace Talks from Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna Partylist.
The rest of the afternoon will include situational updates from each Cordillera province and Baguio City in cultural forms. Cultural presentations are also expected from progressive artists and international delegates from indigenous communities in Taiwan, Cambodia and Japan. A Tribute to Cordillera Heroes and Martyrs, shall be made in the evening followed by Datayo ni Kaigorotan by the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera (DKK); and for the Solidarity night is the Concert for Self-Determination and Peace.
On April 25, the Cordillera Day 2017 commemoration program ends with a caravan and rally against militarization.
Cordillera Day 2017 will also be commemorated by kakailian and advocates in Hongkong on April 23 and on April 15 in Montreal, Canada. # nordis.net