A stronger Cordillera Peoples Alliance emerges from its recently concluded 11th Regional Congress earlier this week from December 10-12, 2017 against the backdrop of State fascism, tyranny, crackdown on legal and progressive organisations and impending nationwide martial law.
Bearing the theme Resist the fascist US-Duterte regime. Courageously advance the Struggle for Ancestral Land, Self Determination and National Democracy, the 11th Congress was participated by 230 delegates and guests from the CPA chapters in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Metro Baguio and Manila, including advocates and solidarity partners from Taiwan (Hunter School) and Japan (Buraku Liberation League-Hiroshima).
“For over three decades, CPA fiercely fought against the destruction and plunder of the Cordillera indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands and resources, violations to our right to self- determination and human rights. The CPA membership has grown from 27 founding organisations in 1984 to 307 member organisations this year, which shows the increasing awareness and commitment of the Cordillera people to this cause,” said CPA Chair Windel Bolinget.
The congress served as a venue to renew commitment and enhance the capacities and bearing of the CPA membership to advance further the Cordillera people’s aspiration for self-determination, right to ancestral land and human rights. Good practices and lessons learned were drawn from the experiences of communities across the region in asserting people’s rights through collective action and resistance. The Lumad experience in asserting people’s rights was also a highlight among the inputs as discussed by Kerlan Fanagel, Chairperson of PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organisations in Southern Mindanao Region.
The congress remembered and paid tribute to heroes and martyrs of the Cordillera people, many of whom are CPA pioneers: Atty. Willam “Billy” Claver, Padi Eduardo Solang, Prof. Manny Loste, Jean Macliing, Lakay Bon-as Ayabo and others. All are known for their steadfast defense of human rights, genuine freedom and democracy and resistance to martial law.
In the present situation where de-facto martial law is upon the country, CPA calls not only on its membership but the rest of the Cordillera people to rise up against fascism and tyranny.
“In these trying times, we must rise against the storm as a people. We must not allow our children and the people to be fed with injustice or clothed with fear. We must not be numbed and stripped of our rights with the fascist attacks of the US-Duterte regime against the people. Mabtad! Isakit ti kaadduan! Salakniban ken ilaban ti karbengan ti umili ,” ended Bolinget.