By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Speaking in behalf of the International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), Chairperson Jose Ma. Sison conveyed warmest greetings of solidarity to the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and to the broad masses of the people in the region in relation to the holding of the 25th Cordillera Day on April 23 and 24.
In the spirit of international anti-imperialist solidarity, Sison, who is also the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said “ we solemnly commemorate with you the martyrdom of Ama Macliing Dulag who was murdered on the night of April 24, 1980 by the forces of imperialism and state terrorism for opposing the World Bank-financed Chico River Basin Hydroelectric Dam Project of the Marcos fascist dictatorship which sought to displace the indigenous peoples from their land, devastate their lives and culture and deliver the land, mineral, forest, water and other resources to foreign corporations and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.”
Dulag is a Kalinga Pangat, a respected tribal elder of the Butbut tribe who was one of the prominent leaders of the Kalinga and Bontoc peoples who opposed the construction of World-Bank funded Hydro-electric dam project along the Chico River by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
On the evening of April 24, 1980, soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division led by Lt. Leodegario Adalem strafed the house of Dulag and the house of another Kalinga leader Pedro Dungoc in Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga. Dulag died instantly from multiple gunshot wounds.
From 1981 to 1984, Macliing Memorials were held in commemoration of Dulag. With the growing sentiments and solidarity of the people from the provinces of the Cordillera and from the rest of the country and other countries;
The commemoration started to be called Cordillera Day commemoration in 1985. Said Cordillera Day served as a symbol of the unity among the Cordillerans with the advocates and supporters at the regional, national and international level.
Sison added that on the night of April 24, 1980, Dulag’s colleague Dungoc after surviving the attack subsequently joined the New People’s Army. Sison said Dungoc made significant contributions to the development of people’s war among the indigenous peoples until he died as an NPA guerilla.
Sison accorded Dungoc’s death with the highest tribute as he also remembered to all martyrs and heroes who made supreme sacrifices for giving their lives in the struggle of the Cordillera peoples for self-determination and genuine autonomy and for ancestral rights to land and resources and other rights.
“We the ILPS resolutely and vigorously support the peoples of the Cordillera in the struggle for all their rights within the context of national freedom and democracy for the Filipino people as well as within the scope of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the statement said.
Sison added that the ILPS appreciate this years holding of festive and meaningful celebrations of Cordillera Day through deliberative meetings and cultural activities in five provinces of the region.
“The entirety and every part of the CPA will be able to arouse, organize and mobilize the people in protesting the iniquities, in raising demands and bringing the movement for national and social liberation to a new and higher level,” Sison added.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Human Rights Monitoring Committee Fidel V. Agcaoili congratulated CPA for successfully holding another massive gathering of the people, as well as activists and environmentalists from all sectors of the Philippines. Agcaoili added that NDFP also extends its most militant salute to the martyrs of the CPA and the Cordillera people who have fallen victims to the anti-insurgency campaign of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration.
“The central theme “Strengthen people’s solidarity. Intensify the struggle for land, life, and rights!” reflects the strong resolve of the Cordillera people to expose and oppose the policies of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) that violate their right to autonomy and self-determination, especially in the control over their land and resources, and lead to the wanton destruction of the environment through the Mining Act of 1995, the sell-out of the country’s resources to foreign monopoly companies and land conversion,” Agcaoili stated.
Agcaoili added that the unscrupulous and ruthless expropriation and land-grabbing of ancestral lands and resources by multinational companies and big capitalists in collaboration with corrupt government officials are at the core of the worsening poverty and marginalization of the Cordillera people. Agcaoili further said that large-scale mining projects in local communities cause massive dislocation, loss of livelihood and gross violations of human rights of thousands of indigenous people. # nordis.net