• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines


April 29, 2024

We, the delegates of the 40th Peoples’ Cordillera Day coming from the different provinces and cities of the Cordillera, with indigenous peoples and advocates from the country and overseas, reaffirm our unity and commitment to defend our ancestral domain and struggle for self-determination and national democracy. We declare our strong opposition against the plunder of our ancestral lands, the violation of our right to self-determination, and State terrorism characterized by militarization, bombings, criminalization, terrorist designation, and relentless redtagging – all perpetrated by the US-Marcos regime.

We resist the onslaught of imperialist plunder through large-scale mining and destructive energy (dams, geothermal projects, wind farms) which will further destroy our communities including our livelihoods, heritage, and communal ethos. We are not against development, but we are against corporate business that only seeks to feed the pockets of local bureaucrat capitalists, landlords, big bourgeoisie compradors, and foreign corporations. This is not development but rather business for private profit. Just like how our ancestors fought for our lands since the time of colonization, so shall we protect what has been passed down to us for generations.

We denounce the numerous violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and the repressive laws and policies being implemented by the US-Marcos Jr. regime. We condemn the rampant disinformation committed by state security forces and the National Task Force – End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), unjustly criminalizing and labelling our struggle as acts of terrorism, wrongfully designating Indigenous activists as terrorists, and bombing our communities. Violators of human rights and international humanitarian law must be held accountable. We reiterate our call for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to address the roots of the armed conflict towards a just and lasting peace.

We reject the government’s bogus regional autonomy which does not reflect the Cordillera Indigenous peoples’ aspiration for the genuine recognition of our rights to our ancestral lands, self-determination, culture and identity. We shall continue to promote genuine regional autonomy and national democracy where our rights are truly respected and upheld. We shall remain steadfast in asserting the legitimacy of our fight, for it is this fight that defines our honor.

We criticize the Marcos Jr. regime for abandoning the peasants and marginalized sectors that bear the brunt of the climate crisis, disasters, and neoliberal policies and programs. We demand production subsidy for peasants whose food insecurity is worsened due to El Niño and agricultural liberalization programs. We reject the bogus public utility vehicle modernization program that promotes corporatization of public transportation, and the jeepney phaseout which is not appropriate in the Cordillera interiors and also results in the economic displacement of poor drivers and operators. Communities have developed, owing to their experience, strong jeepneys that are appropriate to our particular conditions, and which the government should support in order to further develop public transport in the Cordillera hinterlands.

We reject the proposed Charter Change which will worsen imperialist plunder, development aggression, control over our lands and resources, absence of genuine national freedom and democracy, state terrorism and tyranny, entrenchment of political dynasties, and perpetuation of the fascist US-Marcos Jr. regime.

We stand strong and resolute for this declaration of unity in this 40th Peoples’ Cordillera Day. Courageously, we shall advance the struggle for land, life, and honor!

Finally, we salute Tanglag community for hosting the 40th Cordillera Day as we now declare that the 40th Cordillera Day is a big success amidst intensified political repression and state terrorism!###