CPA, Balao Family
Laud Baguio City Council Resolution Supporting the Search for James
Balao and to Condemn his Involuntary Disappearance
On September 29, 2008, the Baguio City Council
unanimously passed a resolution condemning the involuntary disappearance
of James M. Balao and extending full support to the Balao family,
the CPA and the CHRA in search of James. Balao, an indigenous person
belonging to the Kankanaey and Ibaloi of Benguet, is a founding
member of the CPA who was missing since September 17, 2008.
In behalf of the Balao family, the CPA extends its
sincerest thanks to and lauds the officials of the City of Baguio
for this concrete step forward in our search for James. Such move
is also a solid action in the recognition and assertion of our basic
rights to life and security.
The CPA, its officers and members, have always been
under threat by the State and victims of its terrorism, even in
regimes before the US-Arroyo's. We have lost many of our valued
colleagues who have done no harm but assert the rights of indigenous
peoples, yet they were felled by State Terror which has significantly
and gravely aggravated especially under this regime. Under this
situation, the Council of Baguio City had stood by its constituents,
including the CPA, its members and officers by passing resolutions
during trying times when the CPA was under attack: on the unlawful
arrest of Jose Cawiding, then secretary general of the Metro Baguio
Tribal Elders and Leaders Assembly and former staff of the CPA Education
Commission in 2007; and on the extrajudicial killing of CPA Elders
Desk Regional Coordinator and Regional Council Member Markus Bangit
The attack against CPA is an attack against the
people. The city council's action through a resolution condemning
the involuntary disappearance of James demonstrates they have not
only stood by CPA but by the people, their constituents. These acts
of solidarity and support to the Cordillera peoples' movement are
significant and have inspired us to carry on, even with the intensifying
state terror, knowing that they are behind us and recognize the
importance of our work.
There is nobody more liable and accountable for
James' disappearance than the State, through the AFP's military
intelligence and security units, and even the PNP. We challenge
the AFP and PNP, which have remained mum and indifferent about James'
involuntary disappearance since September 17, to surface James Balao
if indeed they truly are champions of people's rights and democracy.
We hope that other government institutions and more
local governments in the Cordillera and all over the country, such
as the provincial and municipal levels, would also concretely aid
us in this situation that we, the CPA, and the Balao Family are
in. Every part of the government should be doing their part because
the government exists to serve and protect the people. We continue
to appeal to the public and to the officials of Benguet to also
urgently extend its support in our search for James Balao. James
is the eldest of four children, and is the son of Mr. Arthur and
Mrs. Jane Balao of La Trinidad and Atok.
James had unselfishly given himself in service to
his fellow Cordillera indigenous peoples through his work as CPA
and Clan President of the Oclupan Clan Association. Now is an opportune
moment for us to fight for our right to life, our right to survive
as humans and as indigenous peoples. Help us find James M. Balao.