𝗦𝗢𝗟𝗜𝗗𝗔𝗥𝗜𝗧𝗬 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 TFIP (𝗣𝗛𝗜𝗟𝗜𝗣𝗣𝗜𝗡𝗘 𝗧𝗔𝗦𝗞 𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗖𝗘 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗜𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗚𝗘𝗡𝗢𝗨𝗦 𝗣𝗘𝗢𝗣𝗟𝗘𝗦' 𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧𝗦)
April 25, 2022
The Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples' Rights (TFIP) congratulates the Cordillera Peoples' Alliance (CPA) and its member organizations for the successful celebration of the 38th Cordillera Day this year.
This year's Cordillera Day is held in a time when the Filipino people will participate in a political exercise which may prolong the oppression or make way for changes to the situation of indigenous peoples and marginalized sectors in Philippine society. With the theme: Advance New Politics, Unite for Land and Life!, this shows the resolve of Cordillera peoples in directing politics toward change which include self-governance in communities and resources found there. It also shows the desire to discontinue the tyrannical and corrupt rule of the current Duterte government which may be continued by the Marcos and Duterte tandem if they win the elections for president and vice president. It is also a reaffirmation that “Land is Life” and the main mission of the Igorot peoples is to defend their ancestral lands.
We also unite in the celebration of the heroism of Macliing Dulag who led Kalinga and Bontok communities to stop the Chico Dam project during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Likewise, we also are one with the celebration of the lves and works of Cordillera heroes and martyrs who lived and died in the genuine service of the people.
Indigenous peoples all over the Philippines have been in a constant state of martial law during the current rule of the Duterte government. Killings which include massacres, trumed-up charges, forced or fake surrenders and widespread vilification or “red-tagging” were done against indigenous leaders. Leaders of the CPA were not spared from these as its chairperson, Windel Bolinget and its secretary general, Sarah Bestang Dekdeken are facing false charges and are maligned in fake news in social media platforms.
The threats to land are also a constant and may worsen especially if the marcos-Duterte tandem prevails in the upcoming elections. The Duterte government's lifting of the moratorium on the approval of mining permits and its inclusion of large dam projects in its Build Build Build program threaten the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and may result in massive displacements of families and communities. In the Cordillera region, the free prior and informed consent for the mining operations of Cordillera Exploration, Inc. and Gened 1 and 2 are underway. The flawed and manipulated process in Gened 1 is still being questioned and resisted by the Isnag people in Kabugao Apayao. The annual celebration of Cordillera Day clearly symbolizes the steadfastness of the Igorot peoples in preventing destructive projects from ravaging their territories.
Celebrating the 38th Cordillera Day means the continuation of the struggle of the Igorot peoples for ancestral land and self-determination despite the most vicious attacks by the government, its security forces and large corporations. Long live the leaders and members of the Cordillera Peoples' Alliance! Long live the struggle of the Igorot!