Solidarity Message from SANDUGO
Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination joins the Cordillera Peoples Alliance in celebrating this year’s Cordillera Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic. No virus nor any kind of state repression will hinder the hearts of the people. We will always honor our Cordillera heroes who protected our ancestral lands and fought for our right to self-determination.
From the Cordillera to Pantaron, national minorities are facing fascist attacks by the Duterte government. It has instrumentalized disasters such as the Marawi Siege and the COVID-19 pandemic as premises to justify and fortify its military rule.
This, while we continue to face the imperialist plunder of natural resources from our ancestral lands. We are currently contending with the construction of destructive energy enterprises like mega-dams and hydro-electric projects, including the Kaliwa Dam in Quezon Province, Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Kalinga, and Balog-balog Dam in Tarlac. We resist the continuing rape of our lands by mining corporations like Oceana Gold Mining and Sagittarius Mines, among others.
In fighting these beasts that sow hunger, discord, and death throughout our lands, we take inspiration from our heroes: Macliing Dulag, Lumbaya Gayudan, Pedro Dungoc Sr., William Bugatti, Ricardo Mayumi, Petra Macliing, James Balao, Alice Omengan-Claver, Markus Bangit, Nicanor delos Santos, Randy Malayao, Mariam Acub, Datu Victor Danyan, Datu Kaylo Bontolan, and many more. All of them are guiding lights in the firmament with which we navigate our struggle.
We also remember the heroes who did not come from the lineage of national minorities, but nonetheless dedicated their lives in fighting for our rights, some even choosing to take up arms: Fr Pops Tentorio, Ed Maranan, Julius Giron; Fidela Salvador, Recca Monte, AJ Jaramillo, and the rest of the Lacub martyrs, to name a few.
Our celebration of Cordillera Day has always been a moment to pay tribute to our martyrs and heroes, but it is also proof that their sacrifices will never have been in vain. Every year, even if we face relentless repression, poverty and now disease, we transform this day into our shared platform, where we mark our gains in the struggle for self-determination and genuine democracy.
Long before this pandemic, we national minorities have learned to advance in solidarity despite being physically and geographically apart. We are no stranger to spanning time and traversing great distances, to harnessing the spirits of the earth and our ancestors, to weaving together our hearts and communities.
In these uncertain times, we are proving the great value of indigenous knowledge, the potency of our unity, strength, and generosity. It is precisely through our collective action that we will carry on the fight of our heroes and martyrs until we bring about justice and genuine peace.
Towards that end, together we learn, we dance, we partake, we persist. #