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statements March 21, 2012
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CPA organizes 28th Cordillera Day Celebration

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is pleased to announce that the 2012 Cordillera Day celebration  or the 28th Cordillera Day, will take place from April 22 (Earth Day) until April 29, 2012, through decentralized celebrations in the 6 Cordillera provinces of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province and the City of Baguio. The CPA chapters therein shall be heading the local celebrations.

A total of at least 6,000 delegates are expected to attend the celebrations, which is guided by the central them Fight for Land, Life and Rights! Urgent issues affecting the Cordillera indigenous peoples will be tackled during the celebration, including the continuing plunder of ancestral lands due to large mining, large dams and militarization; climate change impacts, oil price hikes, genuine regional autonomy, and looming energy and geothermal projects. Specific issues and campaigns will be tackled in each celebration, such as the    expansion of big businesses, cutting of trees, and environmental degradation of Baguio, for the celebration therein.

Each celebration will come up with resolutions, action plans and declarations directed at addressing the above issues, and to lobby local government to act on these to uphold indigenous peoples’ rights.

The specific venues and dates of the provincial celebrations are Amtwagan, Tubo, Abra (April 23-24); Lower Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga (April 24); Guina-ang, Bontoc, Mountain Province (April 22-24); Conner, Apayao (April 24); Tupaya, Lagawe, Ifugao (April 29) and three areas for the Benguet celebration: Gold Creek, Itogon (April 20), Mount Pulag (April 23-24), and Tabeo, Mankayan (April 28).

Cordillera Day traces its beginnings to April 24, 1980, when Kalinga pangat Macli-ing Dulag, one of the prominent leaders of the successful resistance of the Bontok and Kalinga indigenous peoples’ to the World Bank funded Chico River Basin Hydroelectric Dam Project, was killed by when soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, under Lt. Leodegario Adalem. This did not cow the Bontok and Kalinga indigenous peoples, but further firmed up the resistance to the Marcos dictatorship, militarization and exploitation of the ancestral land. The anti-Chico resistance later broadened into a mass mass movement of the Cordillera peoples and advocates into the struggle for the defense of ancestral land and for genuine regional autonomy.

From 1981 to 1984, the commemoration of the death of Macliing Dulag was called Macliing Memorial. The commemoration evolved as Cordillera Day in 1985 to symbolize the widening unity and solidarity among the different indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, and with advocate and support groups at the regional, national and international levels.  The first celebration of Cordillera Day was held in Sadanga, Mountain Province in 1985.  It was in June 1984 that the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) was founded and took the lead in the celebration of Cordillera Day, from 1985 to present. ***

Abie Anongos, Secretary General



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