Solidarity with the Cordillera Peoples! Struggle amid the pandemic and political repression! The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (International IPMSDL) sends our warmest greetings to the peoples of Cordillera in time for the 38th Cordillera Day. We remember the martyrdom of Macliing Dulag, beloved son of Kalinga, and other Cordillera heroes, who are staunch defenders of ancestral lands. Their heroism is an inspiration and a call to action for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to carry on with our struggles against exploitation, plunder, and state violence. To this day, 42 years after the murder of Macliing Dulag, varying forms of attacks are still waged against the Cordillera Peoples. Environmental destruction, plunder of ancestral lands, projects like the Apayao Dam, hydropower projects, and mining activities plague the Cordillera.
Farmers in the region face issues of vegetable smuggling, the liberalization of agriculture, and state-sponsored policies that kill the livelihood of the Cordillera peoples while favoring the interests of the wealthy few.
Historically, past administrations have not only neglected Indigenous Peoples but were deliberately targeted by their various counter-insurgency programs. Fascist attacks are launched against activists and progressives for their firm stance against the encroachment of businesses and so-called development projects into ancestral lands to extract profits from the resource-rich IP territories for the benefit of a few and at the cost of people’s collective rights, health, lives, and the planet.
The plight of Indigenous Peoples worsened under President Duterte, as killings, harassment, and arbitrary arrests of land and environmental defenders have become the legal mandate of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The Indigenous Peoples and human rights defenders of Cordillera are well-versed in this, having experienced state tyranny in its many forms. Leaders, elders, and youth members of Indigenous Peoples movements and progressive organizations in the region who are vocal critics of IP and human rights atrocities are tagged as terrorists and enemies of the state.
State-perpetrated violence is even more rampant as the presidential elections draw near. We are in a crucial period as it is not only the Dutertes who are scheming to maintain their positions of political power. They are joined by the Marcoses, who have unpaid debts to the Cordillera peoples and the entire Filipino nation. Their debt is not only the stolen public wealth and unpaid taxes but the countless lives lost during the communist witch hunt of Martial Law, one of the darkest periods of Cordillera and Philippine history.
Let us all reaffirm the essence of Cordillera Day as a celebration of the people’s historical resistance against plunder and fascism under the Marcos Administration. Today, we reaffirm the resistance by continuing the fight for our self-determined future. Let us strengthen and broaden our anti-colonial and anti-imperialist solidarity and identify the common enemies of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Only through our solidarity can we end the roots of our oppression, the plunder of our lands, and the murder of Indigenous Peoples worldwide.
Reach out to our brothers and sisters, fellow oppressed and exploited sectors around the world, and together build a sustainable, healthy, free, and just future– our alternative to the ruling system that has long caused the lives, homes, and culture of Indigenous Peoples.
Let our celebrations and commemorative activities be venues of our just dissent. Let our solidarity spread across the Philippine islands and around the globe and echo our collective calls for land, human rights, and self-determination. Long live the Peoples of Cordillera! Long live Macli-ing Dulag!
Onwards with the struggle for Self-Determination and Liberation! FOR OTHER LANGUAGES:https://www.ipmsdl.org/statement/solidarity-with-the-cordillera-peoples-struggle-amid-the-pandemic-and-political-repression/