From today to the 24th of April the indigenous peoples’ movement of the Cordillera led by the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance shall observe the annual commemoration of the Cordillera day which is dedicated to Macliing Dulag the Pangat from the Butbut Tribe who stood by his people and their ancestral domain along the Chico River against the attempt of the Marcos dictatorship, the World Bank and big business to build giant dam projects and all the martyrs who stood up for the defense of the indigenous peoples’ right to their ancestral domains and right to self-determination.
The Cordi day, as nicknamed by those who respect its significance, has annually reviewed collectively the Cordillera history up to date and reflect on the present socio-economic situation of the nation and the region and how governance affects them and their community today. For all the problems they have seen thru these reviews they seek and plan to collectively work out a common solution to uphold indigenous peoples rights and to the advantage of the people as a nation.
This year, Cordi day is being hosted by Baguio City through the local IP and NM organizations: the local chapter of CPA – the Tongtogan ti Umili, Baguio based tribal organizations of Cordi, thru the Metro-Baguio Tribal Elders & Leaders Assembly (MBTELA), the I-Bagiw early settlers of Baguio, the Office of the Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative of Baguio, and Ibaloys affiliated with the Aspulan, and other individuals.
It is an opportunity for the local indigenous peoples communities to contribute their insights and actual situations or raise their issues as communities here and at home in the programed forums. And, also to participate or learn from the different Igorot cultural activities. This is one IP activity where representatives of the different tribes all over the Cordi region gather to seriously participate in the sharings, analysis, in the food preparation, in learning or teaching, in the cultural celebrations of victories and review lessons from failures as caring kakailians (communities). Like in the northern tribes’ practice of renewing peace pact agreements, this is to make new and to further strengthen unities, friendships and commitments to uphold IP rights to the ancestral domain and the right to self determination with a much wider than the clan or the tribe – regional, national or international community.
One issue the Ibaloys of Baguio as well as the migrant Igorots and other national minority groups who have settled in Baguio, is to come together, unite and support the full official representation of the duly selected indigenous peoples mandatory representative to the Baguio city government. Here, with the rest of the Cordillera shall the Ibaloy show their unity behind upholding their rights as the Igorots of Baguio and Benguet, and not give fuel to what other people say that they posses “crab mentallity” or “shiyay mango” or to being “lap dogs”.
To the courageous and militant Igorots of the Cordillera who continue to uphold their independence and democratic way of life, uphold their rights to self determination against tyranny; To the Cordillera day participants and organizers, congratulations and Mabuhay!! Agbiag!!# nordis.net