By COMMEMORATIVE COMMITTEE OF KAIGOROTAN YOUTH WEEK*
The Kaigorotan Youth Week (KYW) has been a significant and historical milestone in the Cordillera peoples’ movement. In 1993, the Baguio City Council even passed an ordinance declaring March 1 to 5 as the KYW to annually honor and commemorate the brave young Igorots of 1980s who strongly stood against the Chico dam project and the Cellophil logging concession along with the heightened militarization in the region. Since then, KYW has been a platform for the Igorot youth to continuously nourish the legacy and long history of resistance of the Cordillera people.
This year, as we celebrate the 25th year of the Kaigorotan Youth Week, Progressive Igorots for Social Action (PIGSA), BIBAK Federation and Cordilleran Youth Center bring KYW at the center of the most relevant issues that confront not just the indigenous peoples but the nation at large: the preservation of life, dignity and democracy. It is through this that the Igorot youth shall actively contribute to the growing peoples’ movement against tyranny and the emergence of another fascist dictatorship as we draw near to the 34th Peoples’ Cordillera Day on April.
The oppressive situation of the 1980s is now being resurrected, if not worsened by the current administration through its fascist and anti-poor policies against the people.
In the Cordillera, Igorots are not exempted to this reality as indigenous communities are continuously being harassed and militarized. It was on March 2017 when Malibcong Abra was bombed by state forces themselves in line with the false promise of “peace and development”. Attacks against human rights defenders in the Cordillera also intensified as indigenous peoples, advocates and community leaders are being subjected to trumped-up charges, illegal arrests and detention, harassment and political vilification.
With the railroading of Charter Change that opts all-out liberalization, including the continuous plunder of our resources and ancestral lands, these intensified militarism is expected to worsen. The provision that entails 100% foreign ownership of multinational corporations would only lead to further expansion of destructive mining and energy projects in all indigenous communities. Underlying all these is the continuing cultural bastardization, disintegration and loss of identity, especially among the indigenous youth. Undeniably, there is an urgent call for the Igorot youth to maximize all venues to engage and act upon these pressing issues. The youth is challenged to live and imbibe the tradition of unity and courage our ancestors have taught us. Our history of resistance as indigenous peoples shall lead us in advancing our struggle in the defense of land, life and honor! # nordis.net
* The Commemorative Committee of the KYW is composed of the Progressive Igorot for Social Action (PIGSA), Cordilleran Youth Center, and the BIBAK Federation