Editorial: The 2018 Commemoration of Cordillera Day

The recent 2018 commemoration of “Cordillera Day was a big success in advancing the urgent call (for the people) to unite against tyranny and asserting the right to self determination,” said Windel Bolinget the current chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) yesterday.

In the face of the recent undemocratic actions and pronouncements made by Malacañang, and whenever democracy and the integrity of the peoples’ collective rights are threatened by narrow interests; It Is Duty that every citizen especially the organized sectors of Philippine society to assert the right to assembly and the right to free expression against violations of their collective freedoms and human rights. (Section 4, of the Bill of Rights, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.) It is the people’s option and it is tradition whenever wronged to take to the streets or organize assemblies to ventilate common issues, common declarations and collectively demonstrate the people’s legislation.

Cordillera Day took off from the day of memorial for Macliing Dulag who on April 24, 1980 was treacherously killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for leading his people, the Kalingas and the movement against the construction of 5 dams under the World Bank along the Chico river which were projected to inundate and displace whole communities — the vast terraced rice fields, villages and burial grounds of the Igorots along the Chico. The unity of the people of the Cordillera, their friends and countrymen canceled these projects then under martial law.
Igorot elders, bodong holders, pangats and ap-apo invoked collective Wisdom and tradition upon the Cordillera communities of youth, women, workers, professionals, farmers Indigenous peoples rights advocates and friends, “… unite, organize, defend the ancestral domain and resources to sustain the people, the nation’s future and progress for all”.

The CPA was organized, 34 years ago and consistently led Cordillera Day with celebrating the lives of those who were dedicated to the advancement and progress of the people’s movement in the Cordillera and the nation as well, like apo Macliing, Daniel Ngayaan, William Bugatti, Ben Solang, Del Salvador, etc.. Celebrating in the traditions of the “kanyaw,” the loud beating echo of gongs and drums with a flute or a guitar, and their voices – sacred, spiritual and festive; in thanksgiving for the victories of a people in their defense of the ancestral land, their common resources, their culture, the freedom to observe good traditions and values, asserting their right to be heard, their unities and their right to self-determination.

In this year’s Cordillera Day, representatives of more than three hundred CPA member organizations came together in Baguio. They conferred on their common issues. They shared insights, ideas, resolutions and came up with common positions on a number of issues. They renewed ties of friendship and camaraderie and with gusto celebrated.

They united on the view that a regime that uses profanity, intimidation, bribery, graft, corruption, misinformation, brute force of police and the military, EJK, discriminates women, Lumads, Igorots, and violates human rights to administer governance; a regime that strengthens foreign policies to “sell” the people’s sovereignty over the country’s natural resources, islands and real estate; is not democratic but tyranical.

Tyranny is cruelty, injustice, – a very oppressive regime.

“Self-determination is an assertion of a people’s collective human rights and identity against oppression.” CPA, their advocates, friends in solidarity celebrated the people’s victories and unities with the wider democratic forces for the defense of the ancestral domain and the right to self-determination, to uphold justice and peace; to push for the resumption of the peace talks between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Only “the people united shall never be defeated.” #nordis.net

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