CorDisRDS at thirty

(This is a reprint of the CDPC-CPA network message delivered at the anniversary celebration of the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services on December 13, 2017)

Greetings from the CDPC-CPA network where CorDisRDS is an active member. CPA just concluded yesterday a three day regional Congress, and CDPC also had its assembly earlier in July this year. Both successful events show a sustained civil society network of people’s organizations and NGOs in the Cordillera that advance genuine people’s development. Thank you for this opportunity to be with you all in this well attended anniversary of beneficiaries, partners and volunteers in development work, staff and BOT members.

PROUD TO SERVE. CorDisRDS staff given special recognition for the decades at serving the communities of Cordillera with members of their Board of Trustees. Photo courtesy of CorDisRDS

That CorDis celebrates thirty years of service to the Cordillera people is a testament to the commitment of CorDis Staff, Board of Trustees, and generous partners dedicated to serve the people of the Cordillera from the urban to the most interior villages. CorDis was established in 1987 as MRRS (Montanosa Relief and Rehabilitation Services) from organized people’s movement and ecumenical response to the earthquake that hit Tinglayan, Kalinga. It had key role in even wider and sustained similarly organized people’s movement and ecumenical response to the devastating Baguio earthquake in 1990. Since then, it has been a dynamic NGO in the Cordillera development scene with its econiche in community based disaster response (cbdr). It later expanded into more comprehensive community based development programs (cbdp) with appropriate change of name into Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDisRDS).

Through the years, CorDis has been through rough and rocky episodes in its development work notably related to militarization and development work harassment, and also difficulties during disaster response missions. But these were overcome through people’s assertion of their rights to development and basic services, development workers’ commitment and perseverance; and support of other development stakeholders in the ecumenical church, LGUs and government agencies, and foreign development work partners.

For thirty years, our development work has shown forth in all aspects: disaster response and rehabilitation, community based development on livelihood and basic services, scholarship that has produced some of the first college graduates in some indigenous rural families, and continuing education/training and organizing for over all self determined sustainable development.

Some key points to cherish in the 30 years of CorDisRDS service to people’s development:

1. Development work addressed the marginalized and generally neglected situation of Cordillera indigenous peoples especially interior rural villages, and contributed to the aspiration for self determined and sustainable socio economic and over all people’s development.

2. CorDisRDS is an ngo institution in the service of communities and people’s organizations and it gives not only project assistance but capacity building to empower people for their self reliant development through education/training, organizing and advocacy/campaigns.

3. Commitment and perseverance of competent development workers/staff who uphold human rights and indigenous peoples rights with matching support of beneficiary communities, have shown forth and prevailed in the face of threats and daunting situations; like during disasters, militarization, and tribal wars.

4. Sustained partnership and solidarity support from European Church related and other institutions, as well as local ecumenical and ngo endeavors plus occasional government agency/lgu partnerships have supported CorDisRDS development work for three decades, and continuing.

In trying times like now under the Duterte regime, let us build more durable strength from past achievements. Let us be inspired by the embracing response and participation of our beneficiaries of communities and people’s organizations, the sustained support of pro people development stakeholders in the ecumenical church/community and in government, as well as the sustained support of our funding partners.

From a productive service-to- the people endowed thirty years, we move forth to many more years of development endeavor! #


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