A webinar entitled “Defend our Land, Life and Resources” that was held earlier today kicked off the global launch of the Defend Cordillera PH campaign. Organized by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), the webinar tackled updates in the situation and issues faced by indigenous peoples in the different provinces of the region, especially the energy project applications that continue to threaten natural resources, communities and self-determination of indigenous peoples.
The global solidarity pact to defend the Cordillera was also introduced during the webinar. It highlighted the worsening situation in the region that necessitates local and international solidarity and support to help the Cordillera people in the assertion of their rights.
The global pact stated that “Large-scale mining, dams, energy and other foreign projects are masqueraded as ‘development’ at the expense of indigenous peoples’ self-determination and human rights. Indigenous communities are robbed of their life, land, culture, and worse, their future. If left unchallenged and unopposed, all these could mean ethnocide for the Igorots and massive destruction of ecosystems in the Cordillera.”
“We have a long history of struggle against destructive projects, such as dams and other energy projects. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CPA and various communities in the region continue to oppose these projects because they remain a big threat to many communities. But instead of focusing on effectively addressing the worsening COVID-19 crisis, the Duterte regime has used the situation to further curtail our right to dissent and other democratic rights. We are under relentless attack through systematic measures taken by the State to delegitimize our organization, and our lives are being threatened,” said Bestang Dekdeken, Secretary General.
Dekdeken added that, “We need the support and solidarity from groups and individuals at the local, national and international levels to amplify our voices and to defend the Cordillera and the CPA from the all-out attacks by the State and private companies.”
The Defend Cordillera PH campaign aims to strengthen local and global solidarity to defend the Cordillera indigenous peoples’ lands and resources from plunder and destruction by State and public companies, and to defend people’s rights from State fascism. Globally-coordinated activities will also be launched in different countries across North America, Europe and Asia this month.
Bestang Dekdeken, Secretary General