An Appeal and a Challenge to Class Bagwis 2012 of the Philippine Military Academy
On the occasion of your graduation this March 18, 2012, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance appeals to our brothers and sisters in the Philippine Military Academy to revisit your roots as sons and daughters of the Cordillera homeland. We take this opportunity to remind you of your responsibility to uphold and protect the rights of indigenous peoples and the welfare of the Filipino people.
Like the majority of the Cordillera peoples, you hail from indigenous communities, peasant families, urban poor communities, and even the middle class. Your graduation from the PMA did not change your being from these exploited and oppressed sectors. If not for economic crisis and if better employment opportunities were abound, undergoing Spartan training and anticipating deployment to war-torn areas would not have
been your first option. Certainly, the economic crisis is a push factor for entering the PMA.
In reality, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ridden with a culture and tradition on fascism, violence, of disregard of civil liberties and human rights, even plunder and corruption. Thus, we hope you will be different from those ahead of you, especially those involved in massive rights violations, plunder and corruption. In a few weeks, you will be deployed to far-flung communities where an environment of reality
awaits. Here, we earnestly hope you will defend people’s rights, respect human rights, especially the culture and tradition of indigenous peoples.
As Igorots, we have in our culture and tradition compassion and camaraderie among our Igorot brothers and sisters-- ti panagsinnakit ken panagtinnulong iti kailian ken kabsat nga Igorot—a value that fosters people’s welfare, and a legacy from our elders who fought for our collective rights so that future generations may live, it is our duty
and obligation to fulfill this.
On your graduation, remember your Igorot roots and our collective obligation to protect our people, our ancestral lands and resources from plunder and exploitation. At the end of the day, we are all Igorots bound by a collective heritage. #
Tongtongan ti Umili
Cordillera Peoples Alliance
For the Defense of the Ancestral Domain and for Self Determination
Geraldine Cacho, Chair, Tongtongan ti Umili
Abie Anongos, Secretary General, CPA