Editorial: Who is truly “guwapo”?


“Guwapo”, literal translation in English means Handsome. Attractive, Beautifully built, Proportionate, Articulate, Good dancer, Balladeer, excellent orator, poet, actor, etc.. The decision of who is handsome rests on the beholder, and in this case the decision was made by beholders aplenty.

It is a cherished secret that in farming and workers’ communities especially in the countryside whether they believe in the national democratic revolution or not, that with reverence they called their champions and defenders “Guwapo”, and silently cheer them on with all their hearts. This same honor was only given to the freedom fighters in the second world war who continued to fight against the Japanese Imperial Army until liberation, even after the US armed forces lost to the Japanese and left the Philippines to fend for itself. There among the masses the word never meant the government soldiers nor the government militia.

It should not be a surprise then, especially for those who witnessed the embarrased placard bearing government militia soldiers first hand, picket before the organized protest program of vocal militant activists and the local community audience around. They looked pitiful trying to declare themselves guwapo and trembling as they tried to hold their torch up before the groups protesting against militarization and human rights violations at the gates of the 503rd IB PA camp, and under the scrutiny of the public.

The placard bearing militia must have felt they had betrayed somebody and that they looked embarassed for their action after. Some tried to explain that it was just a days’ work or that they would not get their salaries if they were absent. It is a real life situation especially in the impoverished and militarized countryside. The CAFGUS know that the decision to avoid suffering such indignity can only be made by the individual involved. By the norms of this province’s warrior society they are lesser citizens of the tribes.#

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The deceiving bodong conference

Almost simultaneous to the invitation to the 33rd Cordillera Day celebrations in Balbalan led by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance was a very selected invitation to a supposed bodong conference to be held in Bugnay on the same dates of Cordi day. It left a bad taste in the mouth and an unwelcome surprise to many.

If this bodong conference was a people led activity then the date would not have coincided with Cordi day. If it was the regional government agencies in the Cordillera that was leading it, then the local peoples’ organizations especially the Cordillera Elder’s Alliance, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives or CPA local chapters would have been informed or even invited to it.

Besides, if they knew mindful elders would have responsibly raised it with the organizers that their activity would be divisive, or against customary practices and therefore they must reset it. It would have turned out to be a waste of funds, effort and of great disturbance to the communities named to be participants. It would allienate so many local elders. If this activity was to discuss a proposal for Cordillera Autonomy its organizers would have lost their proposal already.

Most of all, if this was an attempt to misdirect people from the Cordillera day celebration, it is most contemptible, disrespectful of the people of the host village, and of the indigenous peoples, it is anti-Cordi. What a shame!

Mabuhay to the successful 33rd Cordillera Day. # nordis.net


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