President Duterte's Proclamation 575, declaring September 13 as a regional holiday, is bereft of any significance or reason to be honored. This is the day, three decades ago, when the traitorous government under Cory's leadership turned its back on the Cordillera people to coddle mercenaries and unleash a series of attacks on the very people it is supposed to serve and protect.
However, it is not surprising for a person with no knowledge of the mass movement and who continues to be deaf and blind to the struggles of the people to commit this blunder. We, therefore, need to clarify and set the record straight to cut through the state's deception and efforts to revise our history.
September 13 is no special day. It is a deplorable day when the state and the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) made a mockery of the 'Sipat', a revered practice in the Bodong system that only Binodngan tribes can conduct and participate in. Cory and the CPLA's Conrado Balweg reduced this tradition into a theatric that symbolizes how the state reneged on its promises to the Cordillera people and took in the newly formed CPLA as its security force and kingpin in the region.
In earlier negotiations with the Cory government, the Cordillerans were promised these: an end to militarization in the region, recognition of ancestral land rights and self-determination, and cancellation of destructive projects. After the Sipat peace talks in Mt. Data, Cory reneged on these and unleashed fascist attacks against the people and some CPA leaders by using the CPLA as henchmen.
Celebrating Sept. 13 as a special holiday is a great injustice to the Cordillera peoples. This is an attempt to twist the facts that this day is when the state clinched a deal with an opportunist armed group to violently quell and suppress the peoples movement that has taken solid ground with its anti-fascist orientation from the years of the Marcos dictatorship.
The CPLA tried to coopt the achievements of the peoples movement and present themselves as heroes by forcing their authority upon the people, and finding resistance and disgust from the people they betrayed, this murderous group resulted to killing leaders of peoples' organizations that has long been fighting for our collective rights and campaigning for genuine regionl autonomy. The September 13 theatrics in Mt. Data, therefore, was a kick-off to the bloody conduct of the Cory regime in complicity with the CPLA.
Bestang Dekdeken, Secretary General