Tag: Cordillera

Solidarity message to the 25th Annual Cordillera Day

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA extends its utmost solidarity to the 25th annual celebration of Cordillera Day.  Our alliance of 14 progressive Filipino organizations in the US representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth unites with your call to “Strengthen people’s solidarity. Intensify the struggle for land, life, and rights!”

International solidarity is more important now than ever.  The world is facing the most widespread and violent crisis of imperialism in history, and the people of the third world, national minorities, and women suffer most acutely.  Contradictions are sharpening between the oppressed majority of the Filipino people–including Filipinos in the US and around the world–and the ruling elite in the Philippines represented by the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime.  We are under no illusion that the new administration of President Obama in the US will enact any fundamental change for the world’s people, solve the economic crisis in the US, or change the oppressive US foreign policy toward the Philippines.  We pledge to unite with you to create the change that we envision, by working to isolate the oppressive US-Arroyo clique, and towards building the anti-imperialist front in the United States and beyond.

Over the years, many members of BAYAN-USA organizations have participated in and been inspired by Cordillera Day celebrations and exposure programs hosted by Cordillera People’s Alliance, where we have come to embrace the struggle of national minorities for self-determination as our own.  As overseas Filipinos living in the US, we share the common experience of national minorities in the Philippines as well as other people of oppressed nationalities within the US.  Alongside our brothers and sisters in other communities of color, we are constantly fighting national oppression, racism, chauvinism, and xenophobia.  Together, we contend with the razing of our “Manilatown” neighborhoods by greedy corporate developers, the massive displacement of poor and working class families from New Orleans and Chinatowns, and the eviction of Filipino and Latino farmworkers from the land that generations have cultivated for the profit of capitalist agribusiness.

We have built our solidarity with you by engaging in struggle together.  We have marched with you on International Workers’ Day to condemn the exploitation of working people and demand wage increases and humane working conditions.  We have joined demonstrations and camped out on picket lines with you, to oppose wide-scale displacement of indigenous communities from their ancestral land.  We have stood with you to resist police and military harassment at the sites of past Cordillera Day celebrations.  You are sure to face intensified intimidation by military forces again this year, who are intent on derailing your efforts to defend your ancestral domain, assert your right to self-determination, and pursue what Macling Dulag and hundreds of Cordillera martyrs fought for.

In solidarity with your struggle, BAYAN-USA will amplify our condemnation of the plunder of your ancestral land resources by huge corporate and transnational mining companies, many of which are based in the US; the worsening human rights violations due to militarization, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, and political repression funded by US military aid; impending charter change pushed by the US-backed Arroyo regime; and the global economic crisis caused by the inherent flaws of US imperialism.


That the mountains may chant the truth (a Cordillera statement calling for a stop to extrajudicial killings)

Once more, bullets silenced another small voice.

The ambush of the family of Dr. Constancio “Chandu” Claver, in the morning of July 31, 2006 near the Police Headquarters in Bulanao, Tabuk, Kalinga is repugnant. Chandu, the “people’s doctor” was seriously wounded, and Alice, his wife was killed, and their daughter is traumatized. Such atrocity has never been so real in the Cordillera until these recent months.

We, in the Cordillera have always cherished freedom and held it as essential to full humanity. This unflinching belief has helped us maintain our dignity all these years of government neglect, social marginalization, political isolation and economic deprivation. We fought for it.

We take pride in the fact that it shaped the ethos that binds the indigenous people of the Cordillera and links them with other indigenous peoples here and abroad. The ambush of the Clavers and of Marcus Bangit before them is alien to the culture of the people in the Cordillera.

We condemn the ambush of Dr. Claver’s family. The assault of unarmed civilians in public places is a manifestation of a rotten social order. It can only be motivated by a desire to perpetuate fear, subservience and maintain a state of repression.

The killings are deliberate and systematic, planned and executed only by those who have the means and capacity to undertake such atrocity with impunity and sophistication.

We believe that peace and justice is possible if the reasons for dissent and civil unrest are sincerely heard and addressed by those who hold power. At the core of democracy is a government that submits to the processes so painstakingly instituted to protect and ensure the welfare and interest of the majority of the citizens over and above all else.

We deplore the killing of people simply because of their political beliefs. This horrendous decimation of perceived “leftists” sends a chilling message that democracy is interpreted only by those who wield power. People in the Cordillera have demonstrated in the past that we cannot be cowed by any power to speak peace and surrender our freedom.

Wherefore, we now stand firmly united and demand that Government muster the political will and sincerity to put an immediate stop to these killings, find the perpetrators and mete justice.

We affix our signatures voluntarily and with fervent prayers and hope that political decency and moral uprightness will sweep clean the corridors of powers in this country. Let that small voice reverberate to the far reaches of this country and across the seas to swell the crescendo of the cry for justice and peace.

Sign Cordillera Petition at www.sagada.net

Killing of CPA leader and continuing threats to Cordillera activists


It is with outrage and anguish that we inform you of the killing of one of our most devoted and committed leaders, Rafael Markus Bangit, 47 years old and a respected tribal leader. He was gunned down by hooded men on June 8, 2006 in Isabela, while in transit to Baguio from his home province, Kalinga. [download the fact sheet on this incident]

Others of our leaders continue to be under surveillance, even those not included in the military hitlist that we exposed last February. Those who are under intense surveillance include Pastor Vergel Aniceto, Ignacio Pangket, Leonida Tundage, Geannette Galvez, Art malecdan in addition to those in the hitlist, namely Joan Carling, Windel Bolinget, Manny Loste, Julian Gayumba, Jose Cawiding and Xavier Akien. We are taking precaution, but nothing is secure; we remain defenseless.

Rafael Markus Bangit is already the 682nd victim of extra judicial killing since 2001, and the 99th for this year, according to the documentation of KARAPATAN (Philippine Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights). Those who have been killed include church workers, indigenous leaders and advocates, government employees, and local government officials who had been fighting for justice on behalf of their people or active in raising legitimate issues against the government. Likewise, more than 140 activists have been abducted and remain missing.

In addition, 42 journalists have been killed since 2001 ““ five of them since January, according to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP).

Because of mounting pressure on the Philippine government ““ including a strong statement from Amnesty International and an expression of concern from the US Senate and the US Embassy ““ the President in May this year ordered an investigation of the extrajudicial killings and called for a stop to these.

The killers, however, persist with impunity. The military is making excuses and justifications without any credibility, and only pays lip service to the need for investigations and for solutions to cases of human rights violations.

It is thus critical at this stage to heighten the political pressure on the Philippine government from all corners of the world, and demand accountability and respect for the sanctity of life and for human rights. The Philippine government is now part of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNCHR), and it would be important to expose its record of gross human rights violations and demand that political killings be stopped and justice be given the victims.

It is in this context that we again request your support by writing letters to concerned government officials here and drawing international attention to the worsening political killings and human rights violations in the Philippines. With sustained and broadening international attention, we hope lives will be saved, and the human rights situation will improve.

The names and addresses of concerned government officials are provided below, and a sample letter is attached. Letters sent directly to Philippine government officials and to officials of the United Nations, will have more impact, as will the issuance of public statements via the mass media. We shall also be circulating a sign-on letter to those who cannot make their own letter but are willing to express their concern. We are also attaching the update and request for support.

Thanks again for your invaluable solidarity and support.


Joan Carling


1. Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace Compound
J.P. Laurel St. San Miguel Manila
Fax: +632-735-8005
Email: corres@op.gov.ph

2. Hon. Avelino J Cruz Jr.
Department of National Defense
Fax: +632-911-6213
Email: sndcruz@dnd.gov.ph; ajcruz@dnd.gov.ph

3. Hon. Purificacion C. Valera Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
Fax: +632-928-7240
Email: drpvq@chr.gov.ph

4. Hon. Jannette Cansing Serrano
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
telFax: + 632-373-96-33; +632-373-9787

#2 P. Guevarra Street, West Moder Site
Aurora Hill, 2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Phone: +63-74-442-2115
Fax: +63-74-443-7159
Email: cpa@cpaphils.org
Website: www.cpaphils.org