Ama Daniel Ngayaan (1922-1987)
It was 20 years ago
when tribal elder and leader Daniel Ngayaan was abducted and killed
in Cagaluan gate, Pasil, Kalinga province, by the Cordillera Peoples
Liberation Army (CPLA). Ama Daniel had just come from the Regional
Council meeting of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in Baguio
City on October 5, 1987, of which he was the vice chairperson until
his death. At that time, he was also the chairperson of the Cordillera
Bodong Association. His remains were never found. Twenty years after
his abduction, his family, clan, friends, and kailyan have yet to
say that justice has been served. On October 5, 2007 we remember
and honor Ama Daniel, hero and martyr of the Cordillera peoples'
Who is Ama Daniel Ngayaan?
Ama Daniel was born in 1992 in Sitio Liglig, Tanglag Lubuagan, Kalinga.He
belongs to the Tanglag tribe. Ama Daniel was able to finish elementary
education with the inaccessibility of education in far-flung areas,
and later raised his family of eight as a farmer and a skilled carpenter.
From 1955-1960, his leadership earned his appointment
as Barangay Captain of Tanglag.
In 1974, he was one of the elders who stood up and
actively participated and led the opposition against the World Bank-funded
Chico River Dams project during the Marcos dictatorship. Ama Daniel
significantly contributed in uniting the elders of his community,
being an influential peace pact holder himself for the Tanglag tribe.
Through his participation in bodong conferences in Buscalan, Tanglag,
and as far as Metro Manila, community opposition was strengthened
and consolidated. From these bodong conferences, elders forged a
pagta expressing opposition to the dam project in 1975, in the spirit
of the defense of ancestral heritage, His leadership figured as
well in spontaneous actions against the dam such as the dismantling
of the National Power Corporation camp in Mosimos, Tomiangan. Affected
communities including a huge number of women marched down from Tomiangan
to Camp Duyan in Bulanao, Tabuk to return parcels of the dismantled
camp. This happened in 1976.
Threatened by the growing opposition, the Marcos
government later sent PANAMIN (Presidential Assistant on National
Minorities) representative Manda Elizalde to the province. PANAMIN
was used as a divide and rule mechanism against the tribal peoples
sjust so the dam project would push through. Scholarships were offered
to families, including cash and canned goods. Ama Daniel was among
the first to expose the real motives of this agency. Like thousands
of mass leaders and members of the progressive organizations illegally
detained during the Martial Law, Ama Daniel, together with other
150 leaders, elders, oppositionists of the Chico dam was arrested
in 1976. They were detained in Camp Olivas in Pampanga, charged
of hampering a government project. They were released the following
year with the help of different support groups from the church,
the Free Legal Assistance (FLAG) and Amnesty International. His
arrest and detention, did not, however, water down his determination
against the dam construction and his people's fight, as he continued
to figure in the struggle against the dam. Being a peace pact holder,
he was among those who actively participated in the formation of
the Kalinga Bontoc Peace Pact Holders Association (KBPPHA) in 1982,
where he became an officer. In 1983, the growing and widening Cordillera
people's movement gave rise to the birth of the Cordillera Bodong
Association, which he later chaired. During the second congress
of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Ama Daniel was elected vice
chairperson, In October 5, 1987, Ama Daniel was homeward bound to
Tanglag after the CPA Regional Council Meeting when he was abducted
by elements of the CPLA in Cagaluan gate.
Justice for Ama Daniel
Justice for Ama Daniel remains elusive. It remains so even with
the knowledge that the CPLA is accountable for his death, and later
on Romy Gardo of CPA-Abra. Even with CPLA's criminal activities
and the complaints lodged against it, the CPLA remains scot-free
and is fact coddled by government, the latest act of which is the
CPLA's integration into the Armed Forces despite its criminal records
under the Arroyo government, virtually forgetting the CPLA's crimes.
For this, the state remains culpable of denying justice to Ngayaan,
his clan, tribe and the Cordillera people's movement.
Thus, as we remember Ama Daniel, we shall not let
out guard down and continue to expose the CPLA for its criminal
acts and human rights violations. We shall continue our calls for
the immediate abolition of this paramilitary group and make it answer
for its crimes against the Cordillera people.
Two decades after his abduction, we come to remember
the life of our martyr Ama Daniel Ngayaan-his great contributions
in the defense of our ancestral lands, his thoughts and deed as
a progressive tribal leader. We also remember the brave people of
Kalinga and Bontoc who stood up against the dam. Today, the Chico
river runs free and flowing.
Justice for Ama Daniel Ngayaan!
Justice to All victims of Extrajudicial Killings!
CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE
October 3, 2007
Cordillera Peoples Alliance