This column space is giving way for the CPA’s message – FJF.
On the 30th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power I, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) remembers the Cordillera heroes. More than a holiday, CPA urges the public to review the history of Marcos dictatorship and the story of people’s resistance to topple a dictator and paved way to a new chapter of Philippine history. For almost two decades of the Marcos dictatorship before he fled to Hawaii on February 25, 1986, the vast mountains of the Cordillera became a mountain of terror. Today, after 30years, the mountains still search for justice.
Before leading to EDSA I, the Marcos dictatorship views the Cordillera as a resource base to be exploited for so-called “development”. In 1974, the World Bank funded the Chico Dam Project along the Chico River. This project would have inundated 1,400 square kilometers of Kalinga homes, rice terraces, orchards and graveyards. About 100,000 people would have been starved and displaced by this monstrous dam project. And in 1973, Marcos allowed the Cellophil Resources Corporation, a corporation owned by his crony Herminio Disini, to plunder almost 200,000 hectares of land and forests in Abra.
On the start, Marcos used bribery and militarization against the people of Kalinga, Bontok and the Tingguians of Abra. A hundred protesters against the Chico Dam were detained in Camp Olivas, many of them clad in their g-strings. Eventually, this repression led to the ruthless assassination of Macliing Dulag, a staunch leader of the anti-Chico Dam movement on April 24, 1980. On the other hand, the Tinggian people valiantly resisted and defended their lands.
Marcos and his cronies did not succeed to silence the Igorots and the people of the Cordilleras. Instead it sparked the peoples struggle in the Cordillera for the defense of land, life, and self-determination. The resistance of the people succeeded in stopping the four mega dams along the Chico River and the Cellophil Logging Resources. Today, the Chico River flows and continues to sustain life along its path. While the scars left by Cellophil on the mountains of Abra is still a long way to recovery.
Today, we relive the bravery of the Cordillera and the Filipino people amidst dictatorship. Today, we remember and give our highest salute to Macliing, Dulag; Ama Lumbaya; Pedro Dungoc; and to the faceless and countless men, women, elders, children and communities who stood up and defied the Marcos dictatorship.
Today, CPA highlights also its strong opposition against the candidacy of Bongbong Marcos. More than ever, Marcos should apologize for the crimes committed by his father. If Bongbong Marcos vice-presidential bid prevails and gain greater political power, it is certain that he will capitalize on the opportunity to further absolve his father and his family of their crimes against the Filipino people. This is an insult to our decades of brave struggle not only as indigenous peoples but also as Filipinos who fought and overthrew a brutal dictatorship in one of the darkest times in our history. We must not forget our fathers, mothers, sons and daughters tortured, killed, massacred and disappeared during the darkest years of Martial Law. We must not forget our communities displaces, bombed, burned, and desecrated during the dictatorship. Never Again. /For reference:Abigail Anongos, Secretary General