Archives | Cordillera | Publications | International Work | Campaigns |Elders Work | Galleries | About Us | Home


November 17, 2008

back to top back to top


In Cordillera, a "mabtad" is declared in times of emergency, such as when a tribe member disappears, to prompt community mobilization. The family of missing Igorot activist James Balao today echoed the indigenous call in the House of Representatives as militant lawmakers filed a resolution seeking a congressional probe into the disappearance.

"Each passing moment without knowledge of our James' whereabouts is agonizing. Please help us find him," lamented the desaparecidos' younger sister Nonette Balao, who was accompanied to the Batasan Complex by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Manila-based indigenous group TAKDER, and human rights groups Desaparecidos and Indigenous Peoples' Rights Monitor.

In a letter to legislators, Balao's seventy seven year-old father pleaded Congress "to give more pressure to surface my son soonest so we, as a family, will all be together this coming Christmas."

The progressive party list bloc in the House of Representatives composed of lawmakers from Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women's Party and Anakpawis welcomed Balao's family and colleagues, expressing solidarity with them in their unremitting quest for justice.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and the other progressive lawmakers had earlier filed the Anti-Enforced Disappearance and Anti-Torture Bills.

Meanwhile, Cordillera Peoples Alliance Chairperson Beverly Longid urged Cordillera lawmakers to support the resolution filed by the progressive bloc.

"We call upon our kakailian (villagemates) in Congress to support efforts to immediately surface our Ibaloi and Kankana-ey brother. Isakit ti kailyan (defend, protect and empathize with your fellow Igorots)."

The Cordillera solons are Congressmen Manuel Agyao (Kalinga and Mountain Province), Elias Bulut (Apayao), Solomon Chungalao (Ifugao), Samuel Dangwa (Benguet), Cecilia Seares-Luna (Abra) and Mauricio Domogan (Baguio City).

"President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has Igorot blood on her hands. Under her regime, many of our kakailian have been martyred while defending their ancestral land and self-determination. Help save Jame's life from the punitive handiwork of state terrorism and national oppression," added Longid.

Balao, a founding member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and President of the Oclupan Clan Association of Benguet was abducted by armed men suspected to be elements of state security forces on September 17, 2008 in Lower Tomay, Benguet.

He is the first documented indigenous victim of enforced disappearance under the Arroyo administration according to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Monitor. The human rights watchdog KARAPATAN has documented about two hundred cases of enforced disappearances in the country since 2001. #

Published with financial contribution from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Copyright © 2004 website content by Cordillera Peoples Alliance,
Website design by Borky Perida