• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

Statement on the Occassion of International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers: Let Our Rivers Flow Freely!

March 14, 2024

Today, in commemmoration of the International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Cordillera Peoples Alliance is in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Peoples Advocates across the globe in their continuous fight against corporate plunder and development agression targeting ancestral domains.

In the Cordillera, Igorots have a long history of struggle against destructive hydropower energy projects. The 1970s to 1980s historical struggle against the World Bank-funded Chico River Dams took place wherein Macli-ing Dulag and other heroes sacrificed their life in order to protect their ancestral land and rivers from destructive projects. Now, a hundred hydro-power projects scattered across the Cordillera region threaten to destroy communities, particularly river systems which serve as the main source of potable water, farm irrigation, food and livelihood of indigenous communities.

For decades, we have been defending our ancestral lands and our right to self-determination, and yet today, we experience outright weaponization of laws to threaten, harass, and intimidate us. Environmental IP defenders and advocates who resist these so-called development projects experience militarization, terrorist- tagging, harassment, trumped-up cases, enforced disappearance and other forms of human rights violations. The terror laws in the Philippines, such as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, led to several instances of attacks against these defenders. 4 CPA leaders were tagged as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council which in turn led to the freezing of bank account of CPA and the designated individuals by AMLC.

However, the resilience of indigenous peoples communities against corporate plunder and development agression still continues. We enjoin everyone to join the commemmoration of Cordillera Day this April 23-24 in Kalinga to celebrate 4 decades of our struggle in defense of our land, rights, and resources.

For reference:
Astrid Bolinget
Public Info Officer